Do you believe in magic?

Do you love magic? How about pizza? What if you could enjoy both at once? Well now you can because from 6 to 9 p.m. every Saturday at Turnoni’s Newburgh, professional storyteller Lewis Chaney will be performing magic for you right at your seat.

For three hours, Chaney will stroll from table to table, offering to perform a five to 10 minute magic show for customers.

“It’s just an added value that you get for each meal,” he said. “It’s time for you to just sit back, relax and enjoy some entertainment while waiting for your food.”

Chaney said his performance is free and that he usually begins by approaching a table and opening his wallet, which ‘magically’ catches on fire.

“It’s rare that they say no,” he said.

Chaney said his interest in magic started at the age of 7 when his cousin first introduced him to the art. But he said it wasn’t until 16 years ago, when he was trying to debunk a magic trick that confounded him — being able to reveal a thought in ashes on your hand — when his interest in magic really piqued.

During his quest for the truth, he ended up at Nick Nackery, which at the time also had a secret magic shop.

His friend Joe Franklin worked there and ended up introducing Chaney to the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the world’s largest organization dedicated to magic, and becoming his mentor.

Chaney said one has to have a love for magic to be voted into the club.

“The club is filled with the secrets to the world’s magic tricks,” he said.

Chaney said while meeting members of the club, he began to gravitate towards mind reading or “mentalism.”

Some of the “mentalism” tricks he performs include “reading your mind” to guess which card you picked out of a deck or rubbing your closed hand, which contains one red ball, and making two more appear when you open it.

“People ask me if I’m psychic all the time,” Chaney said. “I’m as psychic as a teacup.”

Over the years, Chaney has changed his repertoire.

“I’m always changing, always learning something new,” he said. “You can spend your whole life in this art form and never know everything. Magic is a living, breathing act.”

In addition to being a magician, Chaney has worked in the television industry for 30 years, working for both WFIE and WEHT and has shot and edited Emmy-Award winning stories. He is also currently the co-owner of KEYCHAIN-productions LLC, a motion picture company that ranges from commercial productions to independent films.

Chaney said he loves performing magic because after years of seeing the worst of humanity working in television, he feels like it is his way of giving back.

“There’s so much terrible news in the world,” he said, “and I get a chance to put a smile on people’s faces and make memories.”

For the past three years, Chaney has been performing his tableside magic at Turnoni’s Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and said his favorite part of his act is seeing the reactions from people.

He said just a few weeks ago while performing for a family, a member came up to him and said, “‘You have no idea what you just did for that boy. His father just passed.’”

He was 10.

“And that’s what it’s about for me,” Chaney said, “when a kid has a hard time and I’m able to take their mind off of it for a few minutes.”

For Chaney, magic and storytelling will be a love of his that never dies.

“The magic trick isn’t the magic,” he said. “It’s the story. It’s all about the story telling the art.”

To book Chaney for a show or speech, contact him at www.lewisblewmymind.com or 270-577-1824.

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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