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Paul Vigil's Mystery And Magic Still Amazes, Still Free

April 13, 2012 at 4:33 PM | by | ()

Weíre going to re-introduce you to the finest entertainment deal on the strip. Paul Vigil performs only one hour a week, to a very limited audience and doesnít charge a dime. Itís free. No ticket, no cover and no hard sell to even buy a drink.

And itís still the best hour of mystery youíll see on your trip. Your defenses will be down as thereís nothing to lose. Good. Paulís already one step ahead of you.

Surprisingly based at The Mirageís tattoo parlor/lounge King Ink, itís been over a year since VegasChatter raved about Vigilís residency. In the meantime, Penn Jillette hailed it as one of his absolute favorite shows of 2011.

Thereís a simple premise. A quiet, well dressed deceiver will use familiar props to mess with your mind and confound you badly. Itís not flashy or loud and it's family-friendly. Heíll not embarrass the participants and wonít pander for your applause. Using cards, coins, small props and a local phone book, the concept is to try to read your mind, or counter natural laws of physics and common sense.

Thereís magic in the traditional sense--coins appear impossibly under cards, youíll be asked to pick a card. But his specialty is psychological conundrums.

Vigilís mission is to impress upon you he can read your mind, or psychologically affect your decisions. And that artifice is an inspiration to make you think. Itís best you donít turn up for the show after a few drinks. Youíll want to be alert for this hour of your vacation.

We feverishly wrote notes detailing the routines, but we enjoyed it so much we really donít want to spoil the showís trajectory for you. If you are available at 7pm on Wednesday, make a mental note and just go. And, yes, itís still free.

Vigil has been an underground star in the world of magic for a number of years. His quiet demeanor and even his name (you pronounce the G as an H) sets him apart from each hungry, eager new wave of conjurers. This writer saw him fry the minds of a room full of magicians at the Orleans years ago. Since then heís been developing this show with regular patrons in mind. And counter to the gothic look of King Ink, Vigil is bespoke and conservative in mode and manner.

The audience is a mix of informed and random tourists and incognito magicians. The magic community turns out for inspiration, admiration and maybe a little intellectual theft.

Holed up inside King Ink, Vigil performs with his back to a curtain and a collection of chairs, sofas, and bar stools huddle around his small table. With a quick introduction heís off and running. Well, maybe strolling. Itís not as fast paced as most magic shows youíve seen. The props can all be bought in the Mirage gift shop. Dice, cards, coins and a shot glass. The room fits probably 40 people maximum, and if you arrive late youíll probably have to stand.

Paul coaxes inside curious casino stragglers who poke in their heads after hearing the applause. But this is a close up show, and it pays to be early and get up close. Youíll also become part of the event. This isnít a display of dexterity and using the audience as committee and contributor is essential to show the fairness of his deception. Youíll hear him question his fairness often. His other habitual line is,"I'm not happy, until you're happy." You have the choice to change your mind. You do. He's already two steps ahead of you.

The cerebral nature of Vigilís civilian life bleeds over into the performance. Heíll quote poet T.S. Eliot, 19th century Austrian conjuror Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser and Reservoir Dogs. The breadth of his connected influences further sets Paul from the pack, combined with wit, skill and the suggestion of some strange otherness at work. Also, the very clean, precise way he works.

The flashiness of other workers, is absent here. Itís all up front, and thatís why youíll find so many visiting magicians at his show. Sneak a peek around you. Every now and then youíll see a wry smile as they notice something wickedly clever. The kicker with Paul, is his inventive approach to performing surprises those of us who think we know what is going on. He fooled Penn and Teller. Heíll fool you.

Itís an hour long show and if youíve seen him in the past, go again. New material. Different approaches. And an evident bolder confidence in his work. If you do go, take a cell phone, turn it off, but makes sure thereís someone, somewhere, who you can quickly call. Itíll be worth it.

Whether you believe in ESP, telepathy or are just willing to bask in the hokum of live magic theatre, bring an intelligent ,inquisitive mind and you'll find much to enjoy. Vigil dances around the true nature of his skills and is ultimately happy to just let you think of him weaving, ďa beautiful lie.Ē He knows youíll ultimately leave puzzling and thinking. He was already three steps ahead of you.

Paul Vigil performs at King Ink in the Mirage on Wednesdays at 7pm. Admission is free.

Archived Comments:

H instead of G?

i'm having a hard time saying his name now that you've told me it's pronounced like an h instead of a g. Vee-hill? Vi-hill?


That's one mystery I don't mind spoiling for you, but you were phonetically correct- Vee-hill. Thanks for letting me make it clearer.

Any other times/venues?

We are visiting Vegas from Canada next weekend, Friday through Tuesday night.  Does Mr. Vigil perform anywhere else formally or informally at all over the weekend, or is it solely the King Ink gig on Wednesday nights?  Love the article and your prior review, hope to see catch his act sometime.