Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Warner Records
This month, pop superstar Dua Lipa is crisscrossing the globe to promote her new single, “Houdini,” with surprise appearances in London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. A number of lucky fans in her native London experienced an evening with the Grammy winner last week, dancing the night away as Lipa herself jumped onto the turntables in the very room the music video was shot, at the English National Ballet. Tokyo stans will have to wait until November 24 to find out where they’ll be partying with the “Levitating” singer, but it should come as no surprise that Lipa chose to meet her LA fans at the Houdini Estate.
A throng of the songstress’s devotees came together for a bash on Tuesday night at the Southern California property where, appropriately, an escape room was set up. Although the estate is now named after the great escape artist, Houdini never actually owned the abode; according to the property’s website, the illusionist used a swimming pool on the grounds to practice his legendary underwater stunts. The manse’s owner was Houdini’s friend Ralf M. Walker, a department store magnate.
A master escape artist, Houdini wowed crowds by slipping out of jail cells, mail bags, and even nailed-shut packing crates—all while handcuffed and often underwater. He became a worldwide phenomenon, touring with many Vaudeville acts in the early 20th century. The magician conquered the art of the pivot, too, seamlessly switching to acting in 1918 when Vaudeville waned in popularity.
While filming two movies, Houdini stayed with Walker, who built a Mediterranean-style villa in 1915, where the Houdini Estate is now located. The house was massive, with 11 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a ballroom, and a 15-foot stage for performers. It is believed that the magician never actually stayed at the main house, instead residing in Walker’s guest house across the street. In 1959, the original mansion and guest house were destroyed in the great Laurel Canyon fire. The new mansion built on that same enchanting property is now used as an event space. Evidently, the venue has maintained enough of its historic magic to qualify as worthy of hosting the pop sensation.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
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