26 January 2020

The Magic Gunslinger

Sometime in December, my sister asked me if I wanted to go to a show. She would get the tickets; it was to be my birthday present. Because the tickets turned out to be for 9:30 on a Friday night, we decided to make an event of it. We checked into a hotel in the late afternoon, had wine and cheese and crackers and pâté in the room, availed ourselves of the rather inadequate sauna and steam room, and took the subway downtown to see The Enigmatist.

It turned out to be spectacular - the kind of "wow" that I can't stop thinking about. It's basically a magic show by one David Kwong - but there are no disappearing women or appearing doves, just card tricks, puzzles, word games and math, all deeply woven together. First things first: when you arrive, there are four puzzles arrayed in the foyer. You are supposed to solve them to gain entrance, and they play a part later in the show. It sets a mood, and primes you for what's next. What's next includes a dollar bill, a kiwi, audience participation, a Scrabble demonstration, and a crossword puzzle constructed on the fly. Wholly delightful, and completely in our sweet spot. Scrabble and crosswords? We're there.

On the way out, they were selling copies of a Kwong's book, Spellbound. I didn't buy one, but I did take it out of the library - hoping for great reveals. There aren't really any reveals, because magic, but the book is not uninteresting. It's published by the business books arm of his publisher - and it has a certain "here's how to get ahead in business" vibe to it, which I wasn't expecting. In essence, control your narrative and stay ahead of your audience - and your magic show will succeed.

I have been ruminating about the one bit part I got roped into: Kwong handed me a book, and asked me to look for a longish word, and write it in a notebook and tuck the notebook under my chair and hand him back the book. Later, of course, he revealed the word - the right word. I think I know how he knew the word...but I don't think I can buy a copy of that paperback book so I can't check.


the queen said...

My guess is that every page of the book was printed with the same text, and there was only one “longish” word.