Our long, seemingly never-ending winter becomes just a tad bit more bearable with the return of the Chicago Magic Lounge’s Artist-In-Residency program. The first artist to make the Magic Lounge their temporary home is Harrison Lampert whose infectious charm breaths life into a collection of standard and not so standard tricks. Even more impressive than his sleight of hand is his comedic timing which moves his hour plus set along at a very comfortable pace. Peppered throughout his show are bits such as a very clumsy guest performer (Harrison Lampert in a bad toupee) and two laugh out loud videos labeled Magician Sells Weed to a Cop and Magician Vs. Wild (for the second one, imagine a magician attempting to live off the wild with nothing but his props). Maybe it was the strong cocktails (another Dark Arts for the writer if you would be so kind), but on a dreary Wednesday in January there was nowhere in Chicago I would rather be.
Also making a strong case for venturing into Andersonville is the solid close up magic performed at the table during the “cocktail hour” which occurs just prior to the main show. During this time several magicians work the room while keeping the paying guests off balance with a variety of truly impressive card tricks. For those in search of even more magical entertainment, I would recommend arriving early to hang out at the front bar where it is more than likely a magician will be serving up a few tricks.
I do recommend catching Harrison Lampert’s act. He is a very talented and genuinely funny artist well worth the price of admission. Besides his performance though, I recommend finding one’s way through the laundry machine (not sure why the front bar is hidden behind a laundry machine but it is) on any given night in order to experience the sheer joy of being thoroughly tricked by someone you just met. It is quite the magical feeling. Noel Schecter
Chicago Magic Lounge, 5050 North Clark, Wednesdays from January 4th through March 29th, chicagomagiclounge.com, $40-$45.