Americans call it Mardi Gras, but Italians have a more elegant name for it: Carnevale. This week, the fabulous restaurant il Fornaio imported me from Los Angeles to Carmel to perform magic from table to table. It resulted in six full hours of gasps and laughter.
There was 8-year-old Emma and her 8-year-old friend Emma—“The Emma twins!” I exclaimed—who couldn’t get enough of the multiplying sponge balls.
There was the table of eight art students who came for pizza after art class. When I magically made a half-dollar appear beneath a man’s watch, he said, “Either he’s really good or I’m drinking too much!”
There was the family of six that I approached whose father said, “Okay, one trick.” I blew them away with that, and 10-year-old Rachel said, “One more!” So I did one more.
“One more!” Rachel demanded again.
“You’re the boss, aren’t you?” I said.
“Yes, I am,” she said, a look of certitude on her face.
Linda, the manager who orchestrated the whole event, was dressed in a fabulous silver and green robe that she expropriated from a Shakespeare Santa Cruz production of Macbeth and seemed very Carnevalesque. I suppose the Shakespearean connection explains the lines she muttered continually throughout the evening with an evil cackle: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/Clean from my hand? Mwahahahahaha!”
But the highlight of the evening was a middle-aged couple from Sacramento that seemed so happy with each other that they seemed like newlyweds (see photo above). I was surprised to discover that they had been married for–get this–23 years.
“It helps to marry someone who’s smiling and pleasant all the time,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
There wasn’t anything else I could do. I performed the Anniversary Trick, which is a trick that celebrates love. At the end, they posed for the photograph, which inducted them into the Yikes-the-Magician-Freaked-Me-Out Brigade, not to mention the This-Is-True-Love-and-Don’t-You-Forget-It Club.