Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Teller can talk!

Did I ever tell you about B’s experience talking to Teller?

For those of you that haven’t seen them on TV or here at the Rio, Penn and Teller are a magic duo that are very entertaining. As part of the act Penn Gillette does all of the talking and Teller is never heard. I’ve been searching for something that shows Teller talking and could not find it. I like their act, and we’ve gone to see them a few times. We’ve paid, and also gotten free tickets. I donate blood at the local bank and P&T, as part of their support effort, give free tickets to every donor as part of a promotion around Christmas time each year. I mean, how can you not find amusing a guy that names his daughter Moxie Crime Fighter Gillette. You can see part of their act on the View here:

Or you can go there via this link: Penn & Teller at Youtube.
(don’t get lost watching too many of their videos, please come back)

Boy, I myself could watch these for quite a while myself. Look at the videos for ‘Penn and Teller Explain Slight of Hand.

Or Teller’s Shadows. – there is an interesting photo of Teller back when he was a Teen Ager.

Oh, sorry, this story isn’t about Penn and Teller. Wait a minute – part of it is. OK, back from that misdirection to my story about B and Teller.

Last year we went to see P&T again. They don’t do many changes to their act – it’s about the same every year, with just a few different parts modified. One of my favorite bits that Teller does is one with a big bowl, coins and goldfish. Anyway – as the show went on Penn came to a part where he describes how magic is nothing more than misdirection. Well, he does this a lot. One of the main features of their shows is in telling the audience how their tricks are performed. But he was describing how psychics also are not real, and people should not be fooled by minor fakery.

As part of the performance Penn threw four or five books out into the audience, and asked people to pass them around. One of the primary things that magicians do when interacting with the audience is to have cast members planted out there, and be the ones that are used for the acts. Passing the books around should cause them to be randomly distributed, hopefully avoiding any cast members. After a few seconds of book passing Penn then asked whoever was holding a book to stand up. One of the books ended up with a gentleman seated directly in front of us. Evidently he did not want to be involved, and instead of standing up he handed the book to my wife. B was rather surprised, took the book and stood. (I can tell you at this point that she was not part of the show, had not been previously coached, and did not know what was going on in advance). It was a book of jokes; she was asked to randomly page through and pick one. Penn then asked her three questions that seemed to have nothing to do with the book, and then told her the punch line of the joke that she had selected, as if he could read her mind. He later explained how he had memorized every joke in each of the four books and had questions that would point out which joke had been picked.

But, as Penn was leading up to asking B the questions Teller walked over and handed her a microphone. He then proceeded to tell her what to do, very quietly of course. But, now I can say that B heard Teller talk. I don’t think very many people can say that.

Oh, excuse me; I got lost there myself looking at all the Muppet clips on YouTube. I love the Muppets, along with the off-shoot Fraggle Rock.

But back (again) to this story. Yesterday I encountered something that very few people have seen before. There is a big show going on upstairs: the most expensive one that I’ve seen so far. There are over seven thousand attendees being treated very well. They are probably paying very well also. As I was walking through the hall I heard some loud noises coming from the adjoining hall and decided that I should walk over and see what was going on in there. This space was set up with about three thousand chairs, a big stage and a dozen large screens hanging from the ceiling. The room was dark, and I was privileged to find – I’ll call them the ‘Pink Man Group’ – rehearsing. A very similar group performs every evening next door at that big hotel that shall not be named here.

Sorry for such a short clip, but you get the idea. I’ve never seen these guys looking like this. Normally there are three guys playing that big instrument on the left, and the others are in the background. They probably performed later that evening for the show attendees dressed a little differently, and in a color other than pink (or flesh toned). It would probably be a color that is similar to a bright green minus the yellow. But I was able to watch for a while in the otherwise empty room and enjoy the rather loud performance. It did sound pretty good – guess the acoustics of the hall are just right for a nice big bass sound.

OK, if you don’t know what I mean, don’t feel alone. B had no idea what I was talking about either. I just enjoy coming across random things that people normally don’t see (or hear). In Southern California it was movie stars and well publicized ladies at the beach. In Vegas it’s hearing people that don’t normally talk, or perhaps having dinner next to somebody that’s usually hidden. This time for me it was a performance by a group dressed in a way that you don’t normally see.

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