There is always magic in the air around Chicago. As I was first getting interested in magic, I eagerly awaited each month’s issue of The Linking Ring (the journal of the International Brotherhood of Magicians). One of the first articles I always read was “Around Chicago” by Frances Marshall. If the Magic Castle was the Mecca of Magic, then Chicago was the sun around which the world of magic revolved.
There was so much happening that I always wanted just to breathe in the rarified air because doing so it thought could bring me closer to the knowledge of the greats like Ed Marlo, Jay Marshall, Johnny Paul, Marshall “Wizzo the Wizard” Brodein, Matt Schulien, Heba Haba Al, and so many others. And equally as important, I came to know those who were lesser known in the magic universe such as Chuck Stanfield, Terry Nosek, Jeff Bibik, De Yip Loo, Bob Higa, Jim Krenz and others who were always active on the local magic scene month after month. I am thankful that I got to meet and became friends with many of these gentle "Wizards by the Lake" (Michigan).
Magic has had its ups and downs and perhaps we are past magic’s glorious “hay day” with all of the brick and mortar magic shops and magic bars. But there does seem to be a revival of magic and an interest by the public thanks to magic being taken to the theatres “Around Chicago”.
I recently visited Chicago with the intent of squeezing as much magic into one week as I could. Even with a thoughfully planned itinerary, I could not see it all. I missed an opportunity to catch Max Maven who was performing in a show in town plus I missed the production of Magic Chicago (http://www.magicchicagoshow.com/) because of conflicts with shows scheduled for the same dates. Despite being a magician, I still cannot be in two places at the same time.
I love visiting Chicago not just for the magic but also for all the food and ambience. My wife and I enjoyed food at the Parthenon in Greek Town and German fare at the Chicago Brauhaus. I stood under the statue of Marilyn Monroe and visited the retail emporium of rare oddities, The Woolly Mammoth. I also traveled over to Indiana to see the Fair Oaks Farm (that supplies 1% of all the milk consumed in the U.S.) and we also fit in a trip to the Albanese Chocolate Candy Factory. We took in an Omnimax showing of “Rocky Mountain Express” at the Museum of Science and Industry and took a private tour of the historic Palmer House hotel.
Of course we did see four different theatre magic shows and they are discussed elsewhere here on The Magic Word. You can also listen to a podcast with the key players in those shows.
Thanks goes to our congenial hosts and close friends, Past International President of the I.B.M., Don Wiberg and his wife, Joyce, for making this such a memorable trip.