Magicians are a fraternal bunch, and The Amazing Johnathan got a big laugh at a December gathering to honor Lance Burton’s manager, Peter Reveen.
The dark-witted comic strolled out with stage blood on his face, and a made-up black eye: “I’m sorry, Scarlett — I swear I’ll never criticize your dove pull ever again.”
A big laugh erupted, for the tribute came only days after news that 21-year-old Rachel Jessee, left, known onstage as Scarlett — Princess of Magic, had been arrested for misdemeanor battery. She later pleaded no contest to assaulting her then 67-year-old manager and offstage partner, John Lewis.
Lewis was sitting next to Jessee at the Reveen tribute, and he was perhaps the only person not laughing.
“It was like it was a big joke. I don’t find it a joke,” he said. “I was still suffering from a horrible black eye at that point. I let it roll off me, but my face (was) still sore. I wanted to put some makeup on my eye before I went to this, and Rachel said, ‘No, no, I want people to see how you look.’ ”
Lewis’ attempt to make a Las Vegas star of Scarlett is a cautionary tale of a show business dream that consumed, Lewis claims, nearly a million dollars of he and his wife’s retirement savings and personal effects.
It is also a sad story of domestic violence and — if Lewis had his choice in the legal system — elder abuse.
A week ago, Lewis and wife Carolyn filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Jessee, whom Lewis was dating, in Clark County District Court. The lawsuit claims repeated physical abuse and financial improprieties in converting Carolyn Lewis’ assets without her consent.
In an interview before the lawsuit was filed, Jessee denied any physical abuse beyond the November fight.
But she now contends Lewis pesters her new manager with e-mails and text messages alleging drug and alcohol abuse, which she calls “crazy.”
“I’m definitely not a drug addict,” Jessee says. “I did drink heavier than I should have when I was in the relationship because I was not comfortable, and it was kind of a way to cope. I wasn’t an alcoholic but I’d have a few drinks every night.”
Lewis says there were several escalating attacks. One time she pummeled his rib cage. Another time she hit him in the face and broke a tooth.
“It’s hard to believe that when you see her onstage, but she would just, like, turn into ‘The Exorcist,’ ” he says.”She’s got a terrible violent temper that just explodes. It’s hard to explain, because she looks small. But she’s extremely strong when she gets mad.”