Magic Sale at Magic Castle Cabaret

Arlene Larsen sells costumes, decorated flower pots and more

Arlene Larsen holds one of the Christmas decorations she’s selling this weekend at the Magic Castle Cabaret in Montecito.

During her long career in the costume industry in Hollywood, Arlene Larsen rubbed shoulders with legends such as Bob Mackie.

It’s the same Bob Mackie known forever for creating stunning, show-stopping costumes for classics like CBS’s “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Sonny and Cher.” Remember the curtain rods that Mrs. Burnett, a longtime Montecito resident, wore on the show “Gone with the Wind?” sketch? Or the elaborate sequined dresses Cher wore? They were Mr. Mackie’s creations.

When Mr. Mackie was about to throw something like a yard of sequin trim, Mrs. Larsen caught it.

And kept it.

For decades.

Arlene Larseon took the remains of legendary designer Bob Mackie’s suits and placed them on flower pots.

“I’m not a hoarder,” the longtime Santa Barbara resident told The News-Press with a big smile this week during a visit to the Magic Castle Cabaret she continues to oversee in Montecito.

“I just appreciate beautiful things and find a use for them,” said Ms. Larsen, whose husband, Milt, co-founded the Magic Castle in Hollywood with his late brother Bill Larsen.

And Mrs. Larsen has, in fact, found a use for Mr. Mackie’s leftover sequin trim. She decorates flower pots with it.

And you can pick one up as part of the Holiday Garage Sale party at the Magic Castle Cabaret.

The sale, which includes costumes and decorations for Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and more. – there’s even a spirit or ouija board – takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Sunday at the cabaret, 30 Los Patos Way. It’s in front of the Andree Clark Bird Sanctuary.

There is a limit of 25 people at a time inside the cabaret, where the bar will open each day at noon.

Ghostly decorations and games like Shut the Box are part of the sale.

Some items have prices taped on them, but Ms. Larsen is willing to hear offers.

She said she plans to donate what she doesn’t sell to local thrift stores, the Unity Shoppe and a non-profit university in Chatsworth.

It is, in fact, one of your fanciest garage sales.

All the metal palm trees are a sign of this, as well as everything on sale: wedding dresses, fancy coats, men’s vests, classic games like Shut the Box, Mardi Gras items and all kinds of treasures.

When Ms. Larsen led the news press through the Magic Castle Cabaret, it felt like a treasure hunt. She led the way in the cabaret’s kitchen, where a large ice cream maker is among the items for sale.

“We had a player piano with built-in cymbals, tambourines and accordions,” she said. “We had it here. It was too strong; we never really used it.

So she donated it to the nearby Montecito Friendship Center.

Ms. Larsen led the News-Press through rooms of varying sizes – the decor is similar to the vintage look of Magic Castle Hollywood. Rooms include themed Christmas decorations.

“Tablecloths for all occasions!” Mrs. Larsen said as she walked past them.

“I have enough gifts for 200 people, including brand new things that we never gave out,” Ms Larsen said. She and her husband are known for throwing stylish, well-themed parties at their home overlooking Santa Barbara.

“We have Santa Clauses that we gave out to everyone who comes in,” she said.

Although Ms Larsen said she has no plans to throw any future big parties, she is quick to add: “I haven’t given up on parties. I have a magical Mad Hatter Tea Party in mind.

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