Monday, February 13, 2012

Louisville, KY and a non-stick pan

Hi everyone! Ben here. I had the exciting week I guess so it's my turn to write the post. The day after we got home from Chicago (what an amazing and packed trip. Great blog post Barbara!), I went to a half day at work and then jumped in the car to head the opposite direction: South toward Kentucky.

You may remember that this last fall my very first gig upon arriving in Bloomington was assisting a magician named Dennis Alm as he was producing a show in the nearby and very touristy town of Nashville, Indiana. It really was a blast. He had me magically popping out of boxes on my first day (in a wig and bright, messy lipstick as a send up of the "lovely assistant" act.) Over time he started teaching me tricks, including the straight jacket escape, that I would do out on the street to attract a crowd to the show. We also spent a lot of time working on a very difficult mind reading act, and just when we were really getting good at it, the show closed.

Well, Dennis lives down near Louisville and every month at a local comedy club he hosts a comedy magic show called The Derby City Magic Showcase.  He invited me to come down so we could reprise the act. He also gave me my own 15 or 20 minute set since I've been dabbling in magic myself - as you saw in a previous post.

Anyway, that was the reason for the trip. I arrived at Dennis' house and we went in to Louisville, which was my first time in Kentucky!

Dennis was a great host, driving me around and showing me the sights of the city. The Kentucky Derby came up, and when I mentioned that my mom is a big Kentucky Derby enthusiast, he said, "Do you want to see Churchill Downs?" And I said, "...yes. Yes I do."

Then we went to the comedy club.

I don't have any pictures inside because it was too dark for the camera on my phone. But it looked like every small comedy club you've ever seen on TV, including the brick wall with the name of the place behind the performer. I had a really great time performing my set, and then the stuff with Dennis. There were two other magicians performing and I think I held my own pretty well. It was my first time in that sort of venue and I especially enjoyed the interaction with the heckling children. Dennis was very impressed, and gave me an open invitation to come back and perform again any time I want. I understand the club records the performances and I'll be getting a dvd at some point. Maybe I can post some highlights.

Dennis and his wife took me out to dinner after, and let me sleep in their guest room. We stayed up a little late talking shop. Dennis loaded me up with books, instructional video tapes, and some tricks. I think he has hopes for me. I keep assuring Barbara that I have no intention of trying to become a magician, but it is a lot of fun.

The next day, Dennis and his wife both had to go to work early int he morning, and just told me to lock up after myself. Before coming home I decided to swing by and check out Louisville one more time. I really liked Louisville, and I feel like it would be a blast to spend more time exploring.

First I went to the Louisville Slugger factory and Museum!

I really don't know why, but I've always wanted to. It was easy to find because of the enormous bat. (Fun fact: It's an exact scale replica of the kind of bat Babe Ruth used in the early 1920's)

I even went on the tour and everything. I learned more about baseball bats and how they make them than you care to read about here, but trust me it was really cool.

A bat-mobile of sorts.

Tree trunks with bats literally carved out of them.  It takes 15 seconds to carve a minor league bat and 45 seconds for a major league bat.

The old verses new mode of carving - the old bat is much thicker and heavier.

 One of Babe Ruth's actual bats!

I also visited a place down the street that Dennis had shown me called Caufields. It's a very old costume and novelety store, but it's also one of the very few actual magic shops left after the internet took over. Just about every magician who'd come out of Louisville, (including Lance Burton) worked the counter when they were young.

Anyway, the other thing about them is that they also have a giant bat on the side of the building.

So that was my trip. The other neat thing this week was that Barbara and I bought a new frying pan. Now, that may not seem like a big deal at first, but you see this is the first of our, "let's buy really nice cookware that will last forever, but like, one at a time and very spread out so we can afford it" purchases. We decided to start with the non-stick frying pan because our old one's non-stick was chipped and coming off, which will apparently deform your babies (or something.)

 The old pan.

So our very exciting new pan is the Swiss Diamond 11" Fry Pan which comes with a lifetime warranty and kicks the crap out of any other frying pan I've ever used in more ways than you are interested in reading about right now. Suffice it to say, we feel in some small way like we're on our way cookware wise.

 The new pan.

Well, sorry about the long post. It was a fun-filled week and I'm out of practice with writing these. Until next week!


  1. Hanging on every word. Interesting and fun. Thanks. Dad

  2. Love it! Disneyland had (or had) a really cool magic store and I spent all my money there once- a squirting quarter, sour gum, etc. Love the frying pan! Jealous!

  3. There is nothing better than good cooking utensils. They work their magic. Enjoy!

  4. We've been to louisville a few times since nathan's sister, Audra, lives just outside of town. In fact, Luke and I were there the first week of this month. There are a lot of fun places we like to go in louisville. That is the place we say we will live if we ever leave here. Last time Audra took me to a play at the derby dinner playhouse which was surprisingly good and really funny. She loves live theater. maybe you could let her know if you go do another magic show. I'm sure she would love to see your show and would enjoy hosting the two of you sometime. How far is from you?

    1. That would be lovely! We're thinking of going down during spring break (May). Louisville's only about 2 hours from us. How funny, you and Ben just missed one another!


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