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Magician Moves Beyond the Dining Room

Written By Scott Joseph On August 20, 2015


I’m very pleased about the recent success of local magician Kostya Kimlat, a man who thinks I don’t like him or magic. In fact, neither is true. 

If you’ve missed the many Facebook reposts and congratulatory messages, Kimlat appeared on a recent edition of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on the CW channel and performed a card trick and did just that — fooled the two headliner magicians and earned himself the possibility of being their opening act in an upcoming Las Vegas appearance. Click on the image above to see the flawless performance and the hilarious, explosive reaction of Penn, who declares in no uncertain terms how much he “hates” Kimlat.

It’s clear that Kimlat has come a long way since he was performing tableside magic tricks at Del Frisco’s Prime Steak & Lobster (now Christner’s) on Lee Road. That’s where I first encountered him, and that’s where he got the idea that I don’t like him or magic.

Actually, I like magic a lot. A college roommate of mine was an amateur magician — card tricks were his specialty, too — and I gained an appreciation of the art from him. And Kimlat himself is quite charming. He introduced himself to me on another occasion, following a seminar I had participated in. He handed me his business card, which had an array of letters that were out of line and didn’t spell anything. He apologized, took the card back from me and shook it a little, then handed it back, now completely readable.

What I don’t like, however, is having a dining experience interrupted. Not just by a magician, but by a strolling violinist, mariachi band or accordian player — please, God, not an accordian player. There was even one restaurant, many years ago, that had a “comedian” go table to table to make jokes. In retrospect, that guy was probably trying to do his own sleight of hand to deflect attention from the dreadful food.

I don’t know why restaurants feel they have to add a song and dance act to the dining experience. Perhaps it’s insecurity, a fear that a slow kitchen or poor service will result in complaints. Give ’em the ol’ razzle dazzle, as the song goes…

That night at the steakhouse, I’m sure I stopped Kimlat before he could perform with a “no thanks” or something to that effect. He was only trying to do his job, but I was trying to do mine, too, and that meant watching other things than card tricks. 

So it’s great to see Kimlat still performing, and in venues more suited to his talents. I don’t think he will have to resort to doing strolling card tricks in area restaurants again.

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