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Wake Up and Say Goodbye Too Soon


I didn’t really know Val Dino… (Valdino?). I don’t really know most people… and, do I really even know the people I really know? Several of the few people I do know were very close to him.

If you aren’t yet aware, local Magician and Balloon Artist, Orlando Valdez (Val Dino) was killed in a car accident on November 14th along with his passenger Dana Watson. He was an amazing artist and a talented entertainer who would have gone on to do so many creative and exceptional things. You may have seen his balloon sculptures at the Alamo Drafthouse or caught him as a guest on the local news, but it seems that if you didn’t have the chance to get to know him personally then you weren’t as blessed as those who did.

I only met him a few times through friends and had a few text exchanges regarding local business nonsense. If you must know, I was asking his connection to the management at Golden Corral. I also just now realized that for a couple of weeks in August, I regularly destroyed him in Word Blitz on Facebook messenger. Sorry?

Since I cannot truly speak to the character that was Valdino, here are a few words from a couple of his closer friends: 

To say that Valdino was ubiquitous would be an understatement. It often seemed as though he could be in many places at once. I first became acquainted with Val about 9 months ago through my partner Leslie Lea. He was always around. We joked about him being like a house cat. We would find him asleep in a soft beam of sunlight on the couch or sofa. At other times he would be constructing one of his remarkable balloon creations in the living room. If he wasn’t doing these things he was preparing for a gig or a themed seasonal party to be held in the backyard. That’s how we knew him. And that’s how we remember him.

Beyond everything, Val was our friend, our comrade and quite often an irreplaceable confidant. In the wake of his passing the scope of his life came into true focus. Valdino, the magician and Orlando, our friend, touched the lives of so many. He had an impact in this community. That is something that can’t be forgotten. He was loved and he is dearly missed. But his legacy remains with us in the way magic has a habit of doing. Because if there is magic in the world it exists because Val was magic. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do.

Rest in peace, Valdino

We’ll see you in Valhalla

M.R. Luxemburg

Leslie Lea 

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