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The Prestige

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Today, when we think of "dinner and a show," we usually assume the events will take place in two different locations. Oh sure, some restaurants might feature a piano bar, or classical guitar, or a small jazz ensemble in an out-of-the-way corner. But the floorshow seems to have gone out with the silent movies. Tim Friday, a magician who specializes in "close-up magic," wants to bring it back. Sort of.

"I've been performing tableside every Friday at the Trolley Stop Market for a couple of months now," Friday says. "People are surprised at first, because a lot of people have never experienced close-up magic. So it's really delightful when they realize they get to participate."

Friday got hooked on magic when he was a kid during a family trip to Washington, D.C.

"My parents handed me the AAA book and said, 'Okay, while we're here, you can pick one place to go.' They probably thought I was going to pick a museum or something," Friday says. But instead of choosing one of D.C.'s more obvious landmarks, he picked out one of its niftiest: Al's Magic Shop.

Al's, which closed doors in 2001, was famous among magicians. It was the sort of place where one might find a trickster like Harry Anderson picking up tips or a new deck of cards.

"You can look at your watch and realize three hours have passed," Friday says of Al's Magic Shop.

The tricks Friday performs Fridays at the Trolley Stop often put the magic right into other people's hands. "Because they're not familiar with close-up magic, they don't always realize that magic can be an elegant and sophisticated type of entertainment. They think it's for kids, and I get a lot of parents who are like, 'Do it for the kids,' and so I start and it ends up that the parents enjoy it just as much, and usually more."

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