I'm no country rube. I own multiple vegetable peelers and know who Stan Getz is. I am Sophisticated Urban Man, and Sophisticated Urban Man only goes to see magicians-- or mentalists or illusionists, their allegedly upscale cousins-- to laugh ironically at the performer.
So over the weekend, I went with three friends to see Guy Bavli at the Trump International in Sunny Isles. As you can see to your right, the Israeli mentalist's promotional materials are deliciously ridiculous.
And when we arrived at the little showroom at the Trump, we saw that the audience was extremely intimate-- perhaps a hundred people. The room was apparently for dining by day, because there were full cereal dispensers on the walls. A cash bar was selling overpriced cocktails.
A campy envelope with a big question mark hung on the center of the curtains behind Bavli, who wore a dangly earring on his left ear and hit us with some schtick-y jokes at the beginning.
It felt like we were on a cruise ship headed to Ironyville, which every Sophisticated Urban Man-- especially drunk ones, as I was-- knows is the finest destination.
But then a weird thing happened. Guy Bavli almost made me poop my pants. Figuratively. But if he had kept going, it might have almost happened literally as well.
Frenetic with eager energy, Bavli started slowly. All of his tricks involved audience members. There was some guessing of ex-boyfriend's names, a spoon was bent with Bavli's brain, and some other stuff, most of it involving him apparently reading minds or somehow placing thoughts in minds.
Like I said, I had had a bit to drink, but I clearly remember the sensation of losing my yuppie skepticism as the show chugged forward. At one point, I literally jogged to the bathroom so I wouldn't miss much. There's no ironic way to do that.
Then, as promised by the title of this post, a couple of final acts blew my mind. I won't give too much away in case you want to see the show, but one involved an audience member thinking of a number, and then Bavli getting to the number in an oblique way that-- even with trickery involved-- would necessitate some Archimedes-caliber math skills.
The grand finale involved more than six audience members-- one of whom was my friend visiting from out of town, which assured me that this wasn't some grand audience conspiracy-- a lewd romance novel, a whiteboard, and that envelope with that question mark written on it. (I think there was also a Frisbee involved.)
I came to respect that campy envelope. I came to be really mind-fucked by that campy envelope.
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This is the part where the guy admits on the internet-- where it will never be erased-- that he believes that the Israeli mentalist with the one dangly earring does have some sort of supernatural powers that mere mortals can't really begin to understand.
It made me re-think Jesus a little bit. Because if Guy Bavli, today selling tickets to a tiny show in a Trump breakfast nook, had been doing his thing, say, two thousand years ago, would we today be yelling "Guy Bavli!" every time we stubbed our toes?