Magic Cabaret shows off tricks and illusions

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The Magic Cabaret is kicking off its new season of tricks and illusions on Wednesday night. (WLS)

The Magic Cabaret is kicking off its new season of tricks and illusions on Wednesday night.

It is Chicago's longest running weekly magic show and the magicians behind it all are David Parr and Joe Diamond.

They stopped by ABC7's studios to show us some of the tricks they have up their sleeves for the new season.

-----Press Release-----

Did you know that Chicago has a secret history? It's a history that lies behind a curtain of mystery, in the hidden world of magic and magicians.

In the golden age of magic, Chicago established itself as a major center for magic in the United States. Folks could see magic practically any day of the week, in dozens of locations around the city. Theaters such as the Erlanger, the State-Lake, and the Studebaker were regular stops for the big touring illusion shows of Blackstone, Thurston, and Dante. Nightclubs and showrooms featured solo acts such as Cardini, Russell Swann, and Channing Pollock.

In an office at 1926 West Sunnyside Avenue, Harlan Tarbell assembled his epic correspondence course on magic, spanning five volumes and covering practically every aspect of the conjuring arts, from basic sleight of hand to stage illusions. That course guided the development of countless magicians, all over the globe. The story goes that a tribal medicine man in Africa ordered the course and asked that the volumes be sent in a plain brown wrapper to prevent the uninitiated from learning that his magic came from an office on the north side of Chicago.

Chicago was home to more magic emporiums and magic manufacturers than any other city on the planet. A building at 431 North Clark Street housed four magic shops at the same time: Ireland's Magic Company, Ed Miller's, Guy Jarrett's, and Arthur Felsman's. A six-foot-tall devil statue stood near the entrance to the building, a visual tipoff to the strange goings-on inside.

Amid all the hubbub and hocus-pocus, a new style of magic was being pioneered at a local saloon called Schulien's. Matt Schulien was a mountain of a man with a boisterous sense of humor, a man who loved harmless pranks and having fun. He performed magic up close - on the bar top, at your dinner table, and in your own hands. What magicians called "the Chicago style of magic," in which the performance was not a spectator sport but a shared experience, spread throughout the world.

Since 2007, The Magic Cabaret has been offering that shared experience to Windy City locals and tourists alike. It's Chicago's longest-running weekly magic show! Every Wednesday evening at 8pm at the Greenhouse Theater Center on Lincoln Avenue, magicians David Parr and Joe Diamond transform the intimate sixty-seat studio space into their own parlor of wonders, where classic magic is presented in the Windy City style - up close, with an emphasis on audience participation and mind-boggling sleight of hand.

"People hunger for a direct experience of wonder and mystery," says Parr, who started The Magic Cabaret nine years ago. "It's a basic human need. And it's something you can't get from TV or YouTube."

Wonder, mystery, and a glimpse of the secret history of Chicago are available at The Magic Cabaret every Wednesday night!

Wednesdays at 8pm Greenhouse Theater Center: 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, Illinois.

Tickets $20. For tickets, visit or call the Greenhouse Theater Center box office at (773) 404-7336

Related Topics:
entertainmenttheaterentertainmentChicago - Lincoln Park
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