“The hardest part of what I do is explaining what I do,” says Misha Tuesday. His monthly show at the Zal Gaz Grotto Club, Mystic Nights, is billed as a combination of “magick, mind reading, hypnosis, and beyond!” He introduces himself as a mystic and an explorer but rejects the term psychic; he says anyone can learn to do what he does.
What he does is a captivating combination of hypnosis, clairvoyance, mentalism, illusion, and charisma. Tuesday encourages his audience not to harp on which parts of his show are tricks and which parts are true wonders. “You don’t have to figure it out,” he says.
Charming in his red bow tie and suit vest, Tuesday (his real name) has all the qualities of a compelling showman. His intense brow–a seeming requirement for all hypnotists and magicians–is softened by his half-smile and comedic banter. He alternates between a mysterious, deliberate tempo and an enlivened, dizzying enthusiasm, leading up to tense moments of perfect silence before his big reveals. A demonstration where he asks a volunteer two questions before correctly guessing the guy’s favorite TV show is followed by a pick-a-card trick and then a pendulum act somewhere between hypnosis and more traditional stage magic. All are nearly seamless.
He addresses skeptics without a hint of scorn, explaining his belief that the unconscious mind allows for many seeming miracles of hypnosis and mind reading. The few times that volunteers don’t have the response he’s counting on (like the woman who insists the pendulum is going both up-and-down and side-to-side) Tuesday recovers gracefully, acknowledging that everyone responds differently to hypnosis. The act is subtle: “No getting people clucking like chickens,” he says.
When he asks if anyone in the audience has been thinking of reconnecting with someone from the past, I somewhat reluctantly raise my hand. On stage, I write down the name of the person (an old college friend), and Tuesday hands it off to an audience member before correctly guessing several traits of the person I’m thinking about (as well as some of my own). He finally shows off his own slip of paper where he’s written the same name. It’s a neat trick, and he does a great job of accommodating my obvious initial stage fright. Though Tuesday has advised against dissecting the act, it’s still great fun to leave the show wondering how he pulled it off.
What is striking about Tuesday is his philosophy of possibility. Illusion or not–friends, foes, and those who haven’t yet made up their minds can all find a thrill in the idea of explanations that lie just out of reach.
Misha Tuesday performs at the Zal Gaz Grotto Club on the third Wednesday of each month. His next show is May 15.