Monday, August 8, 2011


The reason I haven't had a new post in almost two weeks is that I've been away.  My wife and daughter and I went out to Nevada for my mother-in-law's 85th birthday.  We stayed for the first time at a hotel on the Vegas "Strip" (albeit one without a casino) and had some wonderful meals and a lot of time with Mom.  I especially appreciated the connection being re-made between Mom and my daughter Olivia.

But for me, the highlight of the trip was the night we went to see Penn & Teller.

If you don't know who they are...shame on you.

The show was fantastic.  Jazz pianist Mike Jones entertained the audience with live music during the pre-show, accompanied on string bass by Penn Jillette.  (Is there NOTHING this man can't do??)  While the piano played, the audience was invited up onto the stage to sign an envelope and examine a wooden box.  Hardly anyone even noticed that Penn was playing bass incognito.  When I was a few feet away from him, he caught my eye, and it was clear that he knew that I knew it was him.  He gave me a little nod as if to say thanks for not blowing his cover, and didn't miss a note.

The entertainment was a great mixture of classic stuff from their TV and Broadway appearances as well as new illusions.  I think my favorite moment was when Teller -- silently as usual -- invited a woman up from the audience, and sat her with a goldfish bowl on her lap.  He rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to fill the fishbowl with coins produced seemingly from nowhere.  Then a stage hand brought out a large aquarium filled with water.  Teller scooped up the quarters and as he threw them into the larger tank, they somehow became living goldfish.  At least sixty of them.  How one palms a living goldfish and keeps it alive is a mystery I hope I never fathom, but it was a delight to see.

The show included some debunking of psychic readings, including some absolutely astounding results from Penn as he divined passages from random books that were passed out through the audience, and ended with their classic "magic bullet" routine.

All I can say is, if you find yourself in Las Vegas, go to the Rio NOW and book yourself some tickets.  And for heaven's sake, spring for the orchestra section; you just HAVE to be as close to these guys as you can! 

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