Travel through magical time at the 1920s Speakeasy and the 1960s Magic Club with the Chicago Magic Lounge
Reviewed Tue 21 Apr 2015
I invited my dear friend Mrs. Beeb to accompany me to the Chicago Magic Lounge for her to support me. Who knew what could happen at an underground magic show on a Thursday night in Uptown? I didn’t really have a reason to worry, but I had a slight fear of being sawed in half based solely on my limited magical experience with the televised acts of magic of the 1970s.
As I hoped, the Magic living room debunked my stereotypes and provided a relaxing, humorous and pleasantly mystifying foray into the art of magic. We were escorted by a secret elevator entrance through an art deco lobby into Uptown metro, an underground club located at 4707 N. Broadway. The interior of the club has a clandestine bar vibe – with a lush, tiny stage and a heavy, antique bar made up of girls and guys who fit into the cabaret atmosphere. The crowd was a diverse group from the neighborhood and neighboring suburbs for a romantic night out or a good time with friends. Behind the bar was Jeremy Pitt-Payne, the British magician. We knew that because he was sporting a Mad Hatter / Union Jack outfit.
The one-story waitress was so busy she couldn’t be greeted – but the traveling table magicians were a multifaceted bunch who bustled about with their cards and joked with the crowds. It was the world of close-quarters magic rekindled. It’s been called Chicago Magic since the 60s and 70s, when Chicago was home to several thriving magic clubs such as the New York Magic Lounge in Lincoln Square, the famous Schulien’s in the North Center, and the South Side club Little Bit O ‘The Magic. .
Our table landed Bob Schulien, a dapper card veteran who sat down with us, performing five or six increasingly confusing magic tricks – most of which mutilated the card and gave us a practical memory – all the while being an easy and fun companion. This is no wonder though, since Bob is a 3rd generation magician whose grandfather Matt was the founder of the aforementioned German restaurant and magic club Schulien and who is believed to be the inventor of Chicago Magic.
The only catch on an otherwise perfect night was when a traveling magician’s card trick turned slightly on him and the game landed on Ms. Beeb’s head. To be fair, the card provided with his initials and the date stuck to the ceiling as planned. It was only the remaining maps that had bombarded it. The wizard apologized profusely, everyone had a good laugh and no one was hurt, but Ms. Beeb seemed unduly worried for a while that the only hanging card could suddenly come loose from the ceiling and fall on her in such a way. hurtful.
The MC and producer of the show, Joseph Cranford, was a gracious gentleman who kept the pace of the evening light with a bit of Chicago magic history interspersed with the introductions.
Once the show on stage started, we all relaxed with our martinis and enjoyed the antics, which started with John Sturk and a rope that seemed to vary in length surprisingly. It started with three different lengths and ended up sometimes with a loop, a whole piece, three equal pieces, and so on. Perhaps the most fun was his turn with rings where he put a volunteer to the test of tangling with him. The second act was by Edd Fairman, a mind-reading math wizard who amazed us with some serious Sudoko-like skills.
The final act was Luis Carreon, a well-groomed guy who started out in complete silence with a romantic illusion involving a candle and rose petals that turned into 50-cent coins. During the act, we learned that he left Mexico in his youth and that his beloved grandfather was a circus performer. Luis was so fluent on stage that his conversational style didn’t sound like standard repartee but rather a real connection with the audience. He linked his love of magic to his life experience, explaining how it supported him when he didn’t speak English well, or how he took comfort in magic when being bullied as a child. Luis paid tribute to Yuri Geller and explained how good the man was at bending forks. Then he folded all the forks on the spot and kept us all on our toes, involving everyone in his tricks and being really charming.
After the main event, the animation continued until late in the evening with the Magic Lab, a show where professional and amateur magicians work on new materials and test them on the audience. This probably explained the presence of a handful of magicians who sat apart during the first show and chatted with their colleagues during breaks. Although we were tempted to stay, our midweek night outings were long over. So we left promising to bring our husbands in the near future, as the Chicago Magic Lounge hit all the date night markers; alcohol, ambiance, novelty and fun. Plus, there’s the added appeal of the possibility that you or your mate will be called onto the stage to help do magic that won’t require either of you to be sawed in half.
The Magic Lounge shows take place every Thursday evening at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the Moon Room at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. Tickets cost $ 20.