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Max has been performing and practicing magic for over 34 years and has traveled to 49 of the 50 states and performed countless shows. Come to the show and see why! Photos Facebook Timeline Photos Instagram. All Event Showtimes. What people are saying Hey Rocky, watch me pull this review out of my hat! Add this magic theatre to my short list of places to take a date, a BFF or the office. Max performs an hour of awe-some stunners of world-class pedigree, which should be expected from a professional of his experience.

The tricks this guy has up his sleeve simply cannot be comprehended. I mentioned that he really needed to screw up, just once, to prove he's human. But he won't, I'm sure, because he's just too damn talented. Dude definitely turns lemons into more than lemonade. Just go already. The theatre is maxed out at 26 seats, which is just about right. You're watching slight of hand and some fast moving stuff, here, so the space is appropriately intimate.

Our show was arranged for a group of Yelpers, and Max completely nailed the theme, including a trick about traveling the world 'cuz Yelp is International, hey , the founding of the company, and off-hand jokes about reviews. Yep, the guy's got a sense of humor, and he's doing one other thing that really ties this age-old craft to the present day: some technologic savvy. I wasn't expecting to see him pull a smart phone from his sleeve.

Again, this is one of my picks for really exceptional fun in the The show runs an hour, perfect. He can take this show on the road, as well, so consider this guy for your corporate events and otherwise. Nine confirmed dead. Danemayer died. A high school student in the Pacific Boychoir Academy died. Two Cal undergraduates died. Thirty-six people died that night — the youngest 17, the oldest 61 — in the most deadly structure fire in the United States since people died in the Station nightclub in Rhode Island in By the next day, news outlets across the country began reporting the same narrative: The building was a deathtrap.

Eyes immediately turned to Almena, who at first seemed not to understand the gravity of the situation. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. His arty, charismatic guru aesthetic was still intact — his fedora a little too dashing on what should have been a deeply bowed head.

Almena, let me ask you a couple of questions. Thirty-six lives were lost in that building over the weekend. The family members of those who were lost want answers.

Beyond human sight and sound

Are you the man who should be held accountable? What am I going to say to that? Should I be held accountable? I can barely stand here right now. Obviously there were some conditions in that building that may have led to a dangerous situation and led to what happened there.

We laid our bodies down there. We put our children to bed there every night. We made music. We created art. What do you want me to say? The city of Oakland, too, found itself in the cross hairs within a matter of days and weeks. It turned out that city officials had known for well over a year that Ghost Ship was dangerous. I would be so worried about all the electrical wires. A neighbor on 31st Avenue called the police dozens of times, according to KQED, concerned about the noise and the endless flow of old junk that arrived at the building, some of which then sat on the sidewalk.


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As details began to emerge, the fire was not understood as an isolated, idiosyncratic catastrophe. It was understood as the product of civic and societal failings. In the years leading up to the fire, the Oakland Fire Department had been chronically underfunded, understaffed and mismanaged. To deal with the fallout after the tragedy, the fire chief retired. The fire marshal hired in April eventually resigned.

A refrigerator caught fire in the warehouse on the night before the tragedy.

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The Ngs, through their lawyer, declined to comment. The civil trial is scheduled for next fall. Beyond all this was the feeling that the runaway cost of living in the Bay Area — and its attendant housing crisis — was culpable as well. Artists lived and worked in unfinished, unpermitted, unmaintained warehouses because the traditional rental market had become hopelessly out of reach; squats, in one form or another, were the only places artists could afford. But when she spoke at a vigil in downtown Oakland a few days later, she was booed. The mayor then tried to mend her relationship with her more creative constituents by signing an executive order giving owners of illegally inhabited spaces up to 60 days to come up with plans to bring those properties into compliance with building regulations.

But who would pay for all those upgrades: the sprinkler systems, the insulation, the fire doors? Without major subsidies or a housing-market crash, there was no math that made those underground art spaces both affordable and up to code. After the fire, Harris stayed with friends for a while, spending whole days talking only to the cat, unsure he wanted to live. Hearing the drum circle at Lake Merritt had become unbearable.

Riding his bike across town, seeing friends of friends — it was all too hard. So in March , he boarded a bus, in a rainstorm, for Los Angeles to try to start again. In his backpack, he carried all his possessions: a few T-shirts and a pair of too-big jeans he picked out of the piles of clothes people donated to the artists who lost everything in the fire. He had some money in the bank, too, as Harris, like everyone else who had lived at Ghost Ship, except Almena, received funds from charities to help them rebuild their lives.

In the Inglewood neighborhood of Los Angeles, Harris rented a loft in a former auto-body shop, across the street from an elementary school. Harris tried to nest.

He built a workbench and furniture out of scrap materials he found in the yard. He painted a couple of walls white and one sky blue. He bought an induction stovetop, which heated food with magnetic energy instead of a coil or open flame. He thought about holding workshops in his studio to teach people how to make their own engagement rings out of cuttlebone.

But being awake was excruciating, and being asleep was excruciating. On the morning of June 5, , he woke up to banging on the metal roll-up door. He slipped on his flip flops and opened his loft to about a dozen law-enforcement officers with guns drawn. He could hear the schoolchildren playing at recess across the street. At first he thought it must be a mistake, a big mistake. Maybe his neighbors had done something? The cops cuffed his tattooed wrists and took him down to the station.

They handed him several sheets of green paper. The warrant read:. Harris was told he could make three calls. Still he dialed, bracing himself, unsure what he was going to say. The whole world knows. Both men were moved to Santa Rita Jail. The landlord, the Ng family, was not charged. Harris spent eight months in solitary confinement — for his own protection, he says the guards told him. He tried to maintain his sanity by reading through thousands of pages of legal documents from the case, hoping to aid in his own defense. The state claimed that the warehouse was flagrantly, cavalierly dangerous.

Almena was responsible as the master tenant. Harris shared culpability as second in command. On Dec. Each morning, Almena and Harris arrived at Superior Court of Alameda County, in downtown Oakland, shackled in their striped prison jumpsuits.

Reward Yourself

On the second day, a young man named Nicholas Bouchard took the stand. He testified that Almena persuaded him to co-sign the Ghost Ship lease. A couple of weeks after signing the Ghost Ship lease, Bouchard arrived at the warehouse one day to find a huge hole had been cut in the second-story floor. Concerned, he told his mother, and together they prepared for a meeting with Almena to discuss how to make safe, legal changes to the space.

She then dedicated herself to maternal arm-twisting until her son cut ties with Almena. Over the six days of hearings, the state compelled a series of Satya Yugans to testify.

A gulf in understanding opened in the courtroom. What was a family? Was your real name the name your parents gave you or the one bestowed on you by your friends? What qualified as a home? What did it mean to say something was beautiful? But the feeling among people who lived there was that arresting Harris made no sense. About Almena, some testified that they were scared of him.

But they were clear about Harris. Yes, Harris coordinated with the music promoter. Yes, Harris cleaned the warehouse for the party. But Harris had no power. Everyone who lived in Satya Yuga knew that. I talked to Harris a lot in the spring and summer of Her voice sounded like a single thin strand of hard caramelized sugar, sweet but ready to crack.

Part of the magic of parental love — its ballast, its power — is that your family will always be there for you. Their love will build for you a steadfast home in your heart, and the stability of that home will give you the strength and the sense of self required to extract yourself from bad situations when you need to leave. Harris never quite had that. No parent, like Kathleen Bouchard, was determined and able to wrest him away from risk.

Instead, even in prison Harris felt a duty to take care of his mother. For a while, each time I visited, I found Harris behind the thick glass divider in his red-and-white jail jumpsuit. To talk to me in a visiting slot in his cell block, he had to lean his lanky body over to the side of the cubicle because the cord on the phone attached to the wall was humiliatingly short. He reminded me to clean the mouthpiece of the phone on my side of the glass each time I sat down.

There was no way for Harris to process the situation, no way to assimilate the facts. He always thought that if he moved gently through the world, the world would move gently over him. He thought that if he helped others, good karma or Jesus or both would take care of him. Had he not done enough? He lost friends in the fire. He had his own trauma to work through. How had his life taken him here, with all these bodies laid at his feet? One day in April when I visited Harris, he told me that the guards had woken him up in the middle of the night and searched his cell.

They took his soap and deodorant and left another inmate standing in his boxers in the cold cement yard. The casual cruelty disoriented him. He had nightmares at night. He had nightmares during the day. Almena, too, was in jail and not doing well. Shortly after his arrest, he was moved to the Glenn Dyer jail in downtown Oakland.

He cried during the second interview when he talked about his children, then he remembered all the children who had died and that it was cosmically unseemly for him to cry in public about his own; his face collapsed as he sunk into the quicksand of his own pain. When his children visited him in jail, he told them he was now on a spaceship. He hated for his children to see him locked up like this. He longed to touch their warm, soft skin. No one touched him anymore except to lock him in handcuffs. If he was lucky, he slept for 18 or 20 hours a day.

In his dreams, he visited every studio in the warehouse. He saw Harris making jewelry, Nikki Kelber making feather headdresses, his wife upstairs belly dancing. It was all beautiful again. Then he woke up behind bars. When I visited him in November, he looked defeated, subdued. Harris never wavered in his belief in his own innocence, though he lost faith that he could get a fair trial.

In June , after nearly a year in jail, Harris agreed to take a plea deal.


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  5. The deal stipulated that Harris would receive a six-year sentence, while Almena would receive nine. On July 3, , in Oakland Superior Court, his hair pulled back in a respectable bun, Harris sat as the judge read each of the 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Every time they read a name, another corner of the courtroom would break out wailing.

    The sentencing hearings were supposed to be a formality. In the month leading up to them, Harris prayed and kept the Sabbath and studied Buddhism. He knew each family would be granted the opportunity to make a victim-impact statement and that those statements would be brutal. He felt it was his duty not just to sit there in the courtroom but to listen with an open heart, let the words in.

    Late on the morning of Aug. The space felt hopelessly small and wrong, but it was inevitably all going to feel small and wrong.


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    This was a criminal-negligence case that was trying to perform the civic emotional work of a mass-murder trial. The community needed the proceedings to do much more than call two human defendants to account for negligence; the community needed catharsis. The trial needed to create monsters, then decree those monsters must be locked away so that the world could be made safe and right again. Harris, along with Almena, entered from a side door. Harris seemed to be trying to hold on to a bit of himself, the gentle hippie artist, by wearing an undershirt he tie-dyed with jailhouse juice packets and crushed colored pencils.

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    The second family member to speak was Linda Regan, who lost her year-old daughter, Amanda Kershaw, in the Ghost Ship fire. She had no mechanism to salve her rage. She could not forgive. Family after family wanted Harris and Almena to know that loss did not get easier to bear. The sorrow did not decrease, it radiated.

    A young woman named Lesley Moran took the stand to talk about her 6-year-old twin daughters whose father, Alex Ghassan, died in the fire. And I have to just watch their faces fall. They talk about death all the time. The horror followed by sadness followed by horror followed by sadness flowed and overflowed and kept overflowing. There was no way to contain it, nor should it have been contained. Colleen Dolan, who lost her daughter, year-old Chelsea Dolan, described standing out in front of Ghost Ship for hours on that awful night, breathing in the same awful fumes that killed her child, feeling the same awful heat.

    She wanted to sleep at home in her comfortable bed. Almost all the parents who addressed the court disapproved of the plea deal. Harris and Almena would very likely be released in two and three and a half years, respectively, given the months off for good conduct and time served. It did not seem enough. The presiding judge, James Cramer, who was standing in for Judge Morris Jacobson, who had approved the plea deal but was now on leave, interrupted. The next day Harris took the stand and apologized.

    He knew words were inadequate and that he would have to use words anyway. I know that nothing I can say comes close. Almena, too, took the stand, and this went less well. Even now, here, he could not conjure a world that did not revolve around him. After a two-hour recess, everyone returned to the courtroom. Over the two days of hearings, the families of the victims had made it very clear in court that in addition to being wrecked by loss, they felt legally aggrieved.

    They were angry that the landlord had not been charged. They were angry that the city of Oakland had not been charged. They were angry that P. To the great surprise of everybody present, the judge threw out the plea deal.

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    Harris has expressed from the outset, unconditional remorse. He was at the scene, he stayed at the scene, met with the officials, has done so from the outset. A trial was no guarantee of justice. A trial would certainly not bring justice with regard to the city of Oakland, P. But the judge would let a jury decide the fates of Almena and Harris. Harris remains in Santa Rita Jail and most likely will until his trial, which is scheduled to begin next April. Officials at Santa Rita Jail declined to comment. He studies Buddhism and looks for ways to model equanimity and grace. It strains the human heart — and all the wisdom of the great books of the world — to hold all this suffering.

    Thirty-six families learned their children died. Each story is a complete universe of pain. In none of those stories does the child come back. Each of those children was loved.