By Holli Harms

In the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the magicians say, “Don’t watch my fingers, they are liars.”

I spent an evening in The Club Car room at the McKittrick Hotel with my fellow audience members watching some of the most amazing lying fingers imaginable and unimaginable.

Speakeasy Magick, hosted by the suave and dapper Todd Robbins, is a magic sit-down speed date. You start by entering The Club Car room, a dark musty speakeasy (speakeasies were generally dark and musty as you didn’t really want to be seen breaking the law during prohibition).  There is a piano player deftly banging out ragtime tunes and waitresses/waiters taking orders for drinks. Everyone is excited with anticipation of what’s about to happen. Many come in groups to experience this night with friends. Once orders are placed and drinks are delivered Mr. Robbins will take the stage and prepare you for the night, letting us now that, “No one is who you think they are.” We are told that magic isn’t about what you know, but what you don’t know. That they will make us forget something that happened and see something that didn’t. There will be lies to cover lies, sleight of hand, purposeful misdirections.

Throughout the evening some of the magicians will take the stage for a larger version of their show. Alex Boyce does an illusion with pigeons who just kept appearing, but honestly from where? There were NO visible hiding places for the pigeons on his slim body and fitted suit. None.

In round-robin fashion, different magicians come to your table and sit with you.

They are close and they touch and manipulate not only their cards and dice and shells but also you. Sit forward, don’t sneeze or look away, keep your eyes constantly on the hands that will astound you. We are told again and again to, “Come in. Come closer,” and we do, waiting to see the hand move in some unnatural way and find the trick. There is no looking away and they like it that way. They are proud professional liars, at the top of their game, debonair Artful Dodgers.

There is a purposeful misstep here and there to throw us off. Usually on what appears to be a simple trick. But that is another illusion, a lie to take us further down the rabbit hole of misdirection.

There is a three cup magic act that we’ve all have seen on tv and in films that is turned upside down and what happened next had most of us at the table jumping up from our seats saying, “NO way! No F’ing way!” My jaw dropped again and again and when I glanced at my fellow participants – a collective suspense of belief.

There is a moment or two of downtime when the magicians switch tables and our group was able to convene and discuss what just happened, and how did it happen, and what the hell just happened?! I was part of one trick that I have no idea how it was done. It was mental trickery, mind-boggling for both myself and the other viewers.

What table you get determines your night as there are so many magicians you will only get to see a handful of them. I honestly had no idea how many there were until they took the stage for curtain call and the stage filled to the max and beyond. So you have to come back and get another table and see more magic.

In this day and time when we are all too busy to look up from our phones and converse with one another, a group of strangers convened and conversed and collectively witnessed magic and believed. Cell phones were only brought out once to call someone in another town or state and ask them to pick a card number and suit and then what happened next… well, I’ve probably said too much already. Go see Speakeasy Magick and bring a little wonder into your life.

Speakeasy Magick a magic show, medicine show with a bit of circus and Gypsy caravan now running at the McKittrick Hotel which was actually never a hotel but a warehouse that had been left sitting on 27th street abandoned until the producers of Sleep No More came looking for a space for their UK based hit and TADA! a new venue was created. There is also Gallow Green, a rooftop bar/restaurant floral garden, that recently hosted a family tea for parents and their young ones who were told to bring their favorite doll or stuffed animal to share the tea experience with. There is fun for everyone at The McKittrick.

Performers include Matthew Holtzclaw (Penn & Teller: Fool Us), Patrick Davis (Monday Night
Magic), Jason Suran (The Other Side), Mark Calabrese (Penn & Teller: Fool Us), Matias
Letelier (Matias’ Magic & Mentalism), Prakash Puru (celebrity favorite), Alex Boyce (How to
Transcend a Happy Marriage), Rachel Wax (A Taste of Magic), Noah Levine (Magic After
Hours), and more.

The Club Car is located in The McKittrick Hotel at 542 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001. Tickets are available online HERE or by calling the Box Office at 212-904- 1880. Performances are offered on Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 8pm, and 10:30pm.