I think at this point we’ve established how much I enjoy magic shows.
I love the classic Vegas entertainment history they represent, I love being in a room with other people in the dark and watching something unexpected unfold, and I love that magic is such a complicated and highly trained artform.
But over the years it has saddened me that there are very few lady magicians.
A quick history of The Westgate….the land the Westgate stands on had the Las Vegas Park racetrack on it in the 40’s and 50’s, in 1969 constructed here was Las Vegas’ first ‘mega-resort’ The International, whose opening night boasted performances by Babs and Elvis, in the 70’s it was The Las Vegas Hilton, and today The Westgate is home to performers like singer Barry Manilow and comedian George Wallace.
It had been years since I’d been to this property (honestly it might have still been The Hilton last time I was there…and it may or may not have been for the Star Trek Experience….) and I was really excited to visit this historic casino while enjoying a night out with the family to see a show.
The theatre Jen performs in is intimate–perfect for a younger magician who creates a sense of welcome communitas in the space.
Prior to the show Jen was chatting with the audience, and she wandered over to our family’s table. She was asking us about ourselves, where we were from, etc., and she asked me if I’d be willing to help her out later in the show onstage.
As someone who worked *backstage* professionally in theatre for many years, this is a little bit my worst nightmare. However, she is an incredibly warm and persuasive young performer, so I said, “Sure!”
She asked me to do a mental visualization with her at my table.
“Okay, you’ve just gotten off of a long day at work–you head to the bar, and I want you to think of whatever drink you’re craving and what you’re going to order at the bar” she said.
I started sweating profusely.
Ummm..was she a mindreader who KNEW that I had issues with alcohol?
I tried to keep my cool and imagined my go-to beverage at a bar these days–something I know regardless of how fancy or divey a place is something I know every bar will have–a soda water with lime.
I know that no matter where I am, I can always order a soda water with lime.
So I imagined this.
She told me to write “Whatever drink at the bar that I love” down on a piece of paper, and show it to the people around me.
My family could not stop laughing.
Of ALL the people she could have picked in the audience to do a visualization of what they love to order at a bar, she’d picked someone who was SOBER.
I wrote on the paper:
SODA WATER WITH LIME BECAUSE I AM SOBER
Because that was the truth.
I showed it to the people in the seats around me (not to Jen) and that was that.
Ten or fifteen minutes later when the show started I sort of forgot about the whole thing.
Her show is fantastic–her illusions are heartfelt, funny, and creative. It’s a very family friendly show without being hacky.
I loved it.
Then came the act that included “someone from the audience” to help her taste some beverages onstage.
I panicked thinking–what if there was alcohol in the drinks onstage?!
It felt like slow motion as I walked up to the stage in front of about a hundred people to likely embarrass myself having to say something awkward about my sobriety because I agreed to be a volunteer in this act.
Luckily, the act involved only a few juices and water.
Then, as she had done earlier, she asked me to visualize my favorite drink to order at a bar but this time it was ONSTAGE.
As I did, she approached me with a gift bag.
I opened the bag–inside of it was a small glass with ice and inside, soda water with lime.
She asked me to tell the audience what it was.
I teared up and almost lost it onstage–I smiled and looked out into the bright lights, “It’s a soda water with lime! My actual favorite item to order at the bar!” I beamed.
Somehow Jen Kramer knew.
She knew that I didn’t drink and she protected me onstage and even MAGICALLY brought me my favorite beverage.
What an incredible performer.
My family was clapping so hard when I came back to my seat–my hands shaking as I sat down at the tiny bistro table with my icy cold beverage.
I don’t want to give too much more detail about the show because a magicians’ illusions are personal and it’s more fun to be surprised–but I will say this.
You won’t be disappointed if you go to Jen Kramer’s show.
You’ll have a night of family fun, warmth, and magic that you won’t soon forget.
Thanks everyone for reading and happy sobering friends!