It depends of how often you are visiting California, if you are visiting 1 or 2 times a year
then i would say no save your money but if you will be down here on regular basis then yes go for it.
and keep in mind since you are out of state your dues will be much cheaper.
The benefits of being a member is access to the castle, the library, lectures, ability to invite guests, and member only events. If you live out of state, and as Rich said don't plan on making the trek to California more than once or twice a year then you are paying money for what basically is an expensive bragging right.
You have to assess for yourself if paying the dues (and passing an audition) is worth your efforts based on how much you can take advantage of those benefits.
Is it worth joining the magic castle when you live as far away as I do... gotta love Ohio... the land of "whats a magic shop?" or "whats the magic castle?" so is it worth joining ... when you live in never never magic land. no I'm not a teen if thats what you were thinkin...
At 18 I RAN from that state all the way to the Navy, just to get away. I then joined the Magic Castle on my 21st Birthday and back then, it was a fun "family-like" atmosphere, something it's lost over the years as more and more people treat it as a corporation vs. "country club".
If you think you'll be able to visit the club more than twice annually, then go for it. On the other hand, if you have an IBM or SAM or any other major & recognized magic fraternity membership card, you can get in. It may require you having dinner and paying a steep cover charge, but you will have access to everything BUT the library.
The Castle is a wonderful place that will change your way of looking at magic IF you can spend the time hanging with the gang and saturating yourself in books, videos, etc. but if you aren't going to have steady opportunity to be a part of that atmosphere I would question the venture, the exception being if you can afford the annual dues and you simply want the association on your bio because it looks good (it used to mean something, not so much now days. I remember magicians in Ohio drooling when they saw my membership card).
Ohio?!?! I wouldn't worry about joining the Magic Castle unless you know that you'll be in California often.
If I were in your position I would join the local IBM and go to those lectures. Your local club should allow you to go to the magic castle anyways. There is a very strong magic community in Ohio I don't see any use in traveling to California just for a few lectures.