Kayla Drescher Credit: Dana Lynn

The sight is already a bit of a tell: steps away from boutiques, antiques, bars, and restaurants, a cramped and dingy laundromat with no hot waft of Breeze or Bounty stands unattended, garments whirling entropically, no clean to be achieved. A pink phone with no dial tone, a bell with no service, and yet an intermittent stream of chic folks congregate, then vanish. No one is wearing their laundry day togs. No one has any quarters. 

Kayla Drescher: Magic in Heels
Through 3/30: Wed 7 PM, Chicago Magic Lounge, 5050 N. Clark, 312-366-4500, chicagomagiclounge.com, $45-$50.

To those who wend their way beyond this façade, a surprising experience awaits in the Chicago Magic Lounge: a speakeasy where the secret is not what spirit hovers in your glass but what sorcery occurs in the space surrounding it, whether it’s close-up magic at the intimacy of your table and the bar or the spectacle unfolding onstage. Locked in the library are tomes of magic lore. On the wall, an autographed photo of Houdini gazes at us with a Mona Lisa smile.

In addition to featuring Chicago practitioners, the Magic Lounge hosts magicians in residence on Wednesday nights—thus are we graced with Kayla Drescher: Magic in Heels. Drescher, who is based in Los Angeles, has a sweetness and a brisk improvisational style that make for an entertaining and unintimidating encounter with mentalism, mathemagic, and illusions. Best is what she conjures out of those brave enough to meet her onstage—better than a card trick are the spontaneity of astonishment and those little feelings that accompany us where we let them: love, trust, and willingness to believe.