This was making the rounds on twitter and in my email box last week.
I have a hard time believing it's legitimate because it's so fucking stupid. I hope it's real though.
Jacob S.W. wrote me with a great idea:
Actually starting this restaurant in real life would be insane, but pretending that somebody else has started it could be fun. That is, I tell my kids about a bizarre new restaurant, which has secretly been set up to make it easy for people to do magic tricks. Then I take them to some ordinary, non-magic restaurant, and I've got a built-in imp for everything. “The forks here are charged with negative ions. You know that mint they gave me when we came in? Positively charged. Now every time I move a body part near a fork, it moves. Don’t tell the waiter I told you how it works!” Etc.
I think that's a great context to show some tricks, especially if someone in your life saw that tweet and sent it to you.
"Oh, those restaurants already exist. I mean, not exactly like that. I don't think you would open up a restaurant for the sole purpose of catering to magicians who wanted to perform there. But there is a secret network of about 150 or so restaurants across the country that do offer the service. There's one...gee... about 45 minutes from here. Do you want to go sometime? You just can't tell anyone that I told you this."
You can then go and claim there is special cutlery [spoon bending] and that the waiters will always name a specific card so you can have that card reversed in the deck in order to impress people. [Invisible deck] "Go ahead, point to any waiter and I'll wave them over to name a card. It will be funny. They’ll act totally confused by it. They’re good actors here.”
The concept is almost believable. When something like this is "almost believable," I like to push it about 20% further into unbelievability.
"Okay, here’s something I didn’t tell you before you started eating your eggplant parmesan because I didn’t want you to freak out about it. One thing you can do here is call ahead and ask them to mix something—and let me be clear here, it’s not LSD, okay?—you can ask them to mix a non-toxic, LSD-adjacent, chemical in the food of the person you’re dining with…. Calm down! It’s not a big deal. It’s such a low dose that it’s practically nothing. But it can cause suggestibility and hallucinatory behavior in people.” Follow that with any sort of visual magic trick.
“And I do bill to lemon!”
Thanks to Lee W. for sending this along to me from the reviews for Haunted at Penguin. I don't know why I find this so funny. I guess just the manner of throwing it out there with no context like bill to lemon is just obviously the standard against which everything should be judged.
If you want to delight me, please use that phrase often in the future, when writing on the Cafe, in your Yelp reviews, or when arguing with the wife.
I'm not a fan of Bill to Lemon, because it's kind of the epitome of meaningless impossibility. I know it gets a fine reaction but there's not much there to really capture someone's imagination. No one walks out thinking, "Man... I wish I could make my money go into a lemon! Is it possible? Or will it forever be just a beautiful dream?"
If you know Ken Weber please tell him I said “thank you" for his kind email and “no, I don't think we've ever met.”
(I know this is a wildly inefficient way to communicate with someone. I tried to reply to his email but it just bounced back to me. His email address came through as a weird string of numbers and letters @outlook.com. I can't imagine that was his normal email address. Maybe he used some kind of anti-spam one-time email address because he thought I was going to sign him up on my mailing list. I don’t have a mailing list, so that’s not a concern.)
Here's a perfect looking Yento box from friend-of-the-site, George K.
I did the Yento presentation for my 11-year-old niece for her birthday. (I used the Crystal Cleaver.) She was super into it. Such a fun and great idea for presenting magic. I'm pretty sure I'll be doing this every year with her from here on out.
This is one of my favorite presentational conceits as well. Not only because spectators seem to dig it, but also because iit gave me an excuse to go back and re-examine the Tenyo catalog for effects that I could work into the framework. (And buy a bunch of Tenyo junk in the process.)
I don’t share too many personal details on this site, but I just have to tell someone about this date I had last night.
I went with this woman to a new tapas restaurant about 15 minutes from my place. The sexual tension was palpable. Not long after we sat down, she shifted around the seat of the curved booth so she was right next to me, her hand on my thigh and gradually inching upwards as we talked.
When it was time to leave, we couldn’t pay the check fast enough.
At every stoplight on the way back to my place our hands and mouths were all over each other.
And when we finally got inside, our clothes started coming off before the door was even closed.
We kissed and undressed and stumbled our way to the bed where we made love for hours, climaxing together on multiple occasions as we gazed into each other’s eyes and each other’s souls. She told me it was the most amazing thing she’s ever experienced. And I do bill to lemon.