Magic is still real | Best of Chicago 2021 | Arts & Culture | Chicago Reader

Magic is still real

One of the best things about Chicago is the city’s magical history, that is, its history as a hub for magicians. For many years, these performance artists have provided Chicagoans a unique and compelling form of entertainment. Rooted in the close-up variety that magicians often performed in bars across the city, the scene has since evolved to include acts that continue to impress. Even in a year when attending a magic show in person wasn’t an option, Chicago’s magicians managed to adapt by adopting a “the-show-must-go-on” attitude. Take Jeanette Andrews, a Chicago-based magician known across the country for infusing her magic with science, history, and art, who created “Magic by Telephone” as an answer to newfound challenges. Paying homage to the 1969 Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago exhibition “Art by Telephone,” Andrews aims to “be of service to others” by engaging them “in even a brief moment of stress relief.” While different from her in-person performances, this top-notch project still inspires shock and awe as Andrews treats participants to an at-home illusion. After dialing 855-BY-MAGIC (855-296-2442), callers will hear Andrews say, “Thank you for calling the Magic Hotline. Please enjoy something that will look and feel a lot like a magic trick in the comfort of your own home,” before she instructs them to choose their own illusion using a deck of cards, a dictionary, or their hands. The result is a fun and free experience that offers some excitement in this strange and solitary time. Magic is real.

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