People in Your La Jolla Neighborhood: Meet magician, bridge teacher and tennis player Scott Farr

Editor’s Note: Welcome to La Jolla Light’s “People in Your Neighborhood” series, which shines a spotlight on notable locals we all wish we knew more about! Light staff is out on the town talking to familiar, friendly faces to bring you their stories. If you know someone you’d like us to profile, send the lead via e-mail to editor@lajollalight.com or call us at (858) 875-5950.

La Jolla resident Scott Farr can often be found at the La Jolla Tennis Club, the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club’s Wednesday games or teaching his four-level weekly bridge classes at the La Jolla Community Center, where he wears a different bridge-related tie in each weekly lesson of his popular 10-week course. Continuing his mastery with cards, Farr is also a magician.

Where are you from?

“Bloomington, Minnesota.”

How did you come to live in La Jolla?

“I moved to San Diego in 1974 to go to law school. I finished in 1976 and I was about to take the Bar Exam when I got an offer to go on a cruise ship performing magic. I was 23 so I decided to take the cruise.

For 30 years I pursued a career as a full-time magician. I traveled all over the world. In 1996 I decided that I could probably live anywhere and do my magic because I traveled so much, and this was my favorite place to live in the world, so I came back to (live in) San Diego, specifically, La Jolla.”

What happened after that?

“I decided to semi-retire. I used to play tennis in the afternoon at La Jolla Tennis Club, and did my magic act at night. Eight or 10 years ago, the Club was having some problems, so I told them I would step up and get the management put back together. And I’ve been here ever since.”

What was your best trick?

“I did mostly comedy, a lot of interaction with the audience, but in some countries where people didn’t speak English, I would turn on the music and use birds and rabbits – fun stuff. I moved around a lot, I would always bring people up on stage, I wouldn’t make them look like a fool or goofy, they would help out with tricks. I did a lot of improv comedy based on things that they said and things that they do and the people’s interaction with that.”

What was your magician performance outfit?

“I wore a tuxedo with a white tails and a red tie, a very formal presentation. I didn’t wear a hat, because it distracted from the whole thing.”

How did you get involved in teaching bridge?

“I played bridge in college, everybody my age did. Between classes we would be playing. And when I was performing on these cruise ships, I would always hang out with the bridge instructors and play with them. So, I’ve been playing bridge since the beginning of time.

A couple years after I moved back, San Diego State University sent out their extension courses booklet, in the front page it read, ‘Do you have any ideas for classes? We accept offers.’ And I said, ‘I would consider teaching bridge.’ So I started teaching bridge at SDSU. But the commute started to bother me a little bit, especially during rush hour. But then, we came up with the La Jolla Community Center classes, so I started teaching there, and gave up SDSU.”

What do you like about bridge?

“It’s very good for your brain, and you can learn bridge at any age, they teach it in high school now. It makes you think. It’s not a game that you can just pass by, you have to think the whole time. It’s also a great social game. This class I teach, everybody gets into their own little groups, so there’s all these bridge clubs around for social events. We’re now having monthly dinners with bridge at the La Jolla Rec Center.”

How do you teach bridge?

“There’s two punches to bridge. There’s the (card game and the) biding game, where basically you’re speaking in code and telling your partner what you have. And you can learn that (code). And it’s also about reinforcing the code, and making sure that you and your partner are in the same page. And then you can teach different playing techniques, which they can eventually get down and go from there.”

Do you have a partner?

“I’ve been playing with the same partner for 20 years, Tom Sauer, who also lives in La Jolla.”

Where do you play recreationally?

“At the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club. It’s a great venue for weddings and stuff. But they put games together three times a week.”

Are you married?

“Yes, I got married eight years ago (to my wife Jane) at the La Jolla Community Center. It was a surprise wedding. She didn’t know she was getting married. I told her that we were going to a special tennis event, and we happened to be driving by the La Jolla Community Center, so I said, let’s stop and say hello since we’re a little early. We went inside, and there were over 100 people waiting for her form around the country, our family and friends.

We weren’t engaged, I didn’t ask her before, so I had to ask her during the ceremony.”

What if she had said ‘no’?

“Well, I’m glad she said ‘yes,’ because it would have been a bummer if she didn’t (laughs). We had been together for 10 years, so, that’s part of it.”

Do you have kids?

Yes, my wife has a son from a previous marriage, Stephano (45).

To find out about bridge class schedules: Visit lajollacommunitycenter.org and click on “Calendar” or contact Scott Farr at (858) 455-5406.

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