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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



'An Evening of Magic' to benefit AFC
by Phillip-John Puzzo

This article shared 6358 times since Wed Jul 23, 2014
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From the front window of Patrick Livingston's apartment, visitors can glimpse the ornate facade of the Uptown Theatre, which stands eight stories tall and closed its doors to regular audiences in 1981. The theater is the largest movie palace in the United States, boasting more interior space then Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and many famous magicians like Howard Thurston and Harry Blackstone performed on the Uptown Theatre's stage through the Vaudevillian circuit in the 1920s and 30s.

"Often enough, I find myself staring at the theater and thinking about magicians selling out all 4,300 seats every night of the week," said Livingston, sipping a cup of coffee, "and the thought inspires me to continue mastering the art of magic."

Livingston is an award-winning magician who is organizing a theatrical magic performance called "An Evening of Magic" at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., on Saturday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. Eight unique illusionists will perform at the event, with all proceeds benefiting the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ).

At 12, Livingston picked up a magic book and taught himself one of the most basic tricks: put three pennies in someone's palm, close that person's hand, say "Abracadabra" and open the hand to find four pennies. He became instantly hooked on the rush of shifting people's perceptions of the world, if only for a moment, and hasn't stopped teaching himself tricks since. Through his teen years, Livingston, 33, didn't know why he was called to do magic, but he eventually discovered that his great-uncle was a famous vaudevillian magician named Al Caroselli. "I guess magic runs in the family," said Livingston. "My uncle was friends with Harry Houdini; if they were still alive, I hope they'd come to some of my shows and enjoy it."

For the past two years, Livingston's teacher and mentor has been Eugene Burger, who is dean of students at the world-renowned McBride School of Magic in Las Vegas, and is another performer at "An Evening of Magic." According to Livingston, "Eugene approaches magic from a psychological and philosophical standpoint; he knows more about the philosophy of magic than any other living person. The fact that he lives in Chicago and I have access to him is wonderful." Burger teaches beginner, intermediate and the most advanced illusionists, and he has worked with some of the most famous magicians in the world, such as Jeff McBride, Penn and Teller, and Michael Carbonaro from TruTV's The Carbonaro Effect.

Other performers featured in "An Evening of Magic" include Trent James, who is a prize-winning teen magician and one of the finalists representing the United States at FISM's World Championship of Magic in Rimini, Italy, next year. Also, local performers Robert Charles and Ben Barnes will be featured; they are co-hosts of the monthly variety show called Magic Chicago at Stage 773, which gives magicians from all over the world a great theatrical setting to perform their tricks. "Robert and Ben are breathing a lot of life into the culture of magic through this show and they are also excellent performers," said Livingston.

New additions to "An Evening of Magic" not seen on the show posters hanging all over Chicago include entertainer David Kovac and husband-and-wife team Danny Orleans and Jan Rose. Livingston is very excited both high-profile magicians have the chance to astound audience members and raise money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Kovac will emcee the event; he is recognized as a modern vaudevillian, reinterpreting the style and sensibility of vaudeville in a modern setting, and is known for his tricks and jokes. Danny Orleans auditioned and hired Jan Rose when he took the opportunity to create a theater show in downtown Chicago. Only a short time later, in 1983, they exchanged nuptials and, according to Livingston, founded a distinctive act blending Orleans' magical expertise with Rose's skilled mindreading capabilities.

Livingston draws inspiration from a number of accomplished magicians, particularly Burger, but "first and foremost, I admire Howard Thurston," Livingston revealed. "Houdini gets all the credit for being the greatest magician in the world, but Thurston interests me because he was a businessman and understood how to produce a magic show."

Livingston's undergraduate degrees include an intriguing duo of advertising and theater, and he earned his MBA in marketing from Duke University, working as the brand manager of a major beverage company following his move to Chicago. Now, he is combining his experience in show business and advertisement to not only produce "An Evening of Magic," but also launch his own professional magic company next month.

"One day, I hope to perform on the Uptown Theatre's stage," Livingston said. "Everything would come full-circle and I'd know I helped steer Chicago's magic community and the entire culture of magic in a new, modern and positive direction."

Purchase tickets for "An Evening of Magic" at; follow Livingston on Twitter @MagicPatrick.

This article shared 6358 times since Wed Jul 23, 2014
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