Society of American Magicians’ magazine cover story, November 2011


How Steve Cohen Got To Carnegie Hall

by Antonio M. Cabral

M-U-M magazine, November 2011

Magicians and secrets have a funny relationship. The normal people who comprise our audiences watch us perform miracles and cannot begin to imagine how a person might learn the requisite techniques and other arcane knowledge to accomplish the impossible. Magicians on the other hand know all about the vast oceans of literature (in print and on film) obsessively detailing and documenting the history and lineage of all these bizarre, clever and wonderful ideas. They know you can walk into a magic shop and buy whatever you like without having to fight a dragon or some other kind of mystic wizard’s trial. They worry that their audiences will run home after watching a performance and look for the explanations on YouTube. The “secrets” are out there, if you care enough and know where to look. And yet, magicians and laymen can look at the same “miracle” and both be mystified—if for different reasons.

For example, many close-up magicians know the story of Max Malini’s famous production of a brick or a block of ice from under a hat as recounted by Dai Vernon in Stars of Magic. Vernon was tasked with watching Malini over the course of an evening’s dinner performance to try to pin down the little man’s sleight-of-hand secrets—in particular the the block-of-ice-under-the-hat trick. Throughout the full evening’s meal, Malini never left the table. Malini then proceeded to perform the trick and “…when Malini lifted the hat, a block of ice the size of four fists lay in the center of the table […] Vernon swears to this day that ‘The little bugger had no time to load up.’” While the regular audience members wondered how the ice got under the hat, Vernon was dumbfounded as to how the ice got to the table at all. A bribe to the waiter proved unsuccessful, and they never found out from where Malini had procured the ice.

On the other hand, whenever Steve Cohen performs the trick as the opener of his exclusive Miracles At Midnight show, the source of the block of ice is somewhat less of a mystery. The show is his second as part of his residence at the über-opulent Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. The kitchen at the Waldorf-Astoria is located on the second floor and takes up the area of a full city block. “They have a huge walk-in freezer, and they’ve let me have a whole shelf in there just for blocks of ice for this trick. I used to go down myself to fetch the ice, but it gets so cold in that freezer that our arrangement now is that I simply ring down to the kitchen and they run one upstairs for me at the beginning of each show.” Of course. Everything’s easy once you know the secret.

But while Steve’s audiences—like Malini’s—are astounded at the appearance of the ice under the hat, magicians marvel at something else. They don’t marvel at how the ice appeared under the hat or how the ice got to the table, but at how Steve Cohen himself has managed to “magically appear” in residence at the Waldorf-Astoria with not one, but two elegant, high-end magic shows—one of which costs $250 per person. For close-up magic! And coming this January, Steve will be premiering a stage show at a local Manhattan venue named Carnegie Hall. Compared to those “miracles”, blocks of ice and bricks under hats might as well be the old stretching thumb trick your uncle does […]

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The 7 Secrets Of Spellbinding Pitches – Fast Company article

by Sam Harrison

It’s near the end of Steve Cohen’s Chamber Magic show, and he reaches for his legendary teakettle. Yeah–here it comes. Our small group has already been gobsmacked by an hour of warp-speed trickery within inches of our bugged-out eyes. A silver dollar turns into a clay brick. Three rings borrowed from fingers in the audience become interconnected. Playing cards disappear here, reappear there, change colors and suits with the wave of a hand.

We’re in Cohen’s Waldorf-Astoria suite in New York, where on weekends he performs shows for up to 50 people. And we’ve been waiting for the teakettle. It’s the hocus-pocus prop for Cohen’s signature Think-a Drink trick, where he pours any requested beverage from this one container.

A woman asks for an apple martini, and Cohen pours one. Someone yells out “Long Island Iced Tea,” and that drink comes splashing from the spout. A man wants red wine, and out it comes. Each person sips the requested drink and confirms its authenticity. Shazam–we’re talking some serious magic.

Cohen is billed as the “Millionaire’s Magician” because of his private shows for megabucks folks like Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, and Martha Stewart. And from years of performing for these powerful people, Cohen has conjured up secrets on how to captivate audiences.

Cohen’s a magician, but he’s also a salesperson, each night selling the joys of being mystified by his legerdemain. Try using his showmanship secrets to better sell your ideas to bosses, clients, and other decision makers.

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Lexus Magazine: Putting On The Ritz

by Susan Lehman, Lexus Magazine

MAGIC SHOWS AREN’T JUST FOR KIDS anymore. In fact, master conjurer Steve Cohen prefers that children not attend the dazzling shows he performs at tony hotels around the world — where, instead of pulling rabbits out of hats, he turns one-dollar bills into hundred-dollar bills. Known to some as “the millionaires’ magician,” Cohen stunned an audience of top CEOs when he performed that feat on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Non-CEOs can witness Cohen’s miracles at his weekly magic show at the Waldorf Towers in New York. Here, in a gilt-ceilinged suite, Cohen reads minds, turns coins into bricks, stops his pulse, and, using only force of mind, moves watch hands forward […]

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GQ Article: The Bespoke Magician – A Q&A with Steve Cohen

July 14, 2011 at 12:30 PM

by Mark Anthony Green, in

Vera Wang referred to Steve Cohen as the best-dressed magician she’d ever seen. Cohen was hoping for just best dressed. When the dandy magician isn’t shocking the who’s who of New York City from his private suite at the historic Waldorf Astoria, he’s conjuring up bespoke suits from London and ties from Tokyo’s finest men’s shops. In between ducking in and out his closet to show off more “gems,” we asked Cohen a few questions about his personal style influences and the importance of always dressing the part.

GQ: You go by the Millionaires’ Magician. You probably have a lot of well-dressed spectators.

Steve Cohen: [Hesitant laugh] Oh, sure but I wouldn’t particularly be able to say who’s well-dressed, because sometimes you get wealthy folks who come through who are dressed in casual clothes. Sometimes people, especially the nouveau rich, will intentionally not dress to look wealthy. They call it “Stealth Wealth.”

GQ: Let’s talk about the dress code. It’s a pretty audacious move to tell a room full of millionaires what to do.

Steve Cohen: One time I had a fellow come to my show who was wearing […]

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Hand of Fate – Card trick that stumped the great Harry Houdini

By Graeme Wood, THE DAILY
On Feb. 6, 1922, 27-year-old magician Dai Vernon broke this rule before the toughest of audiences: Harry Houdini. The bold gambit was one of the most storied events in the modern history of magic. Houdini, 47, was not only the world’s most famous magician but also its most famous debunker. He bragged he could figure out any illusion he saw three times, and he repeatedly proved second and third demonstrations unnecessary. Houdini had an enviable reputation as a card manipulator, and after diversifying into escape artistry, he had begun a third career exposing so-called “spirit mediums,” conjurers and seers. Some of the conjurers used elaborate setups, but Vernon challenged Houdini with nothing more than a blue-backed deck of Aristocrat playing cards. […]

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The Seven C’s – How to Always Give a Perfect Performance On Stage

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and her longtime collaborator, pianist Lambert Orkis are good friends of mine. Last weekend, we had a lovely dinner at Bar Boulud in NYC immediately following their recital at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. It was the last performance of Anne-Sophie’s year-long residency with the New York Philharmonic.

As dessert was served, Lambert casually mentioned something that instantly caught my attention – his rules on how to always give a perfect performance. He called these rules “The Seven C’s.” Coming from a Grammy award-winning veteran performer, I knew that his rules would be worth memorizing, and recording here on my blog for others to learn from.

He was kind enough to write up a summary of our conversation, and I’m honored to present his rules on my blog.

Here are Lambert Orkis’ Seven C’s:

Stay CALM: Your higher mental functions are blocked when […]

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Steve Cohen brings night magic to Pennsylvania Ave

WASHINGTON — April 9, 2011 — Pennsylvania Avenue enjoyed a little night magic, and it had nothing to do with republicans and democrats working together. Master Magician Steve Cohen brought “Chamber Magic,’ an intimate show of conjuring, sleight-of-hand and magic tricks, to the Willard Intercontinental for four shows last week (April 5-6, 2011).

His performance was astounding in a way that far exceeds the glitz of sequins and the lit-stage, Las Vegas style extravaganzas. Audience members sit in small, friendly groups where they, and Mr. Cohen, were able to react, talk, share and exclaim amazement together.

Mr. Cohen creates an instant rapport, making each guest feel instantly comfortable; as though invited into the living room of a good friend […]

Read the full post » review by Wayne Kawamoto

by Wayne Kawamoto, guide

In an era of ever-increasing technological marvels and bigger-is-better televised illusions, can an intimate evening of magic win over modern audiences? Watch Steve Cohen’s outstanding “Chamber Magic” and you’ll believe in close-up magic as well. In the show, Cohen recreates the intimacy of 19th century parlor magic.

The setting is an elegant hotel suite (I experienced the show in Los Angeles at the Beverly Wilshire). The props are minimal: playing cards, wine glasses and index cards. What you’ll savor are the talents and charisma of Steve Cohen and his modern take on the art of magic that provides an engaging and memorable experience.

What Steve Cohen has accomplished in “Chamber Magic” is nothing short of a miracle. It’s a must see production that demonstrates the heights to which the art of magic can soar. If you’re in one of the cities where “Chamber Magic” plays, you won’t want to miss it. […]

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Guest author: Jonathan Fields interview

The Making of The Millionaires’ Magician

by Jonathan Fields

Last year, I stumbled upon a fascinating article in The New York Times about Steve Cohen, a magician who offered exclusive shows out of a suite at the Waldorf Astoria and was flown around the world to give private shows for heads of state, captains of industry and celebs.

The story struck me because here was a guy making a serious living doing something very cool that most others would consider a hobby or a side-job. He’s a classic example of a Career Renegade. […]

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