As readers of this blog know, I am somewhat infatuated by Max Malini, the extraordinary magician who entertained celebrities, tycoons and aristocrats. I’ve modeled my career on his, and have been tracking down Malini stories for years. Many of these stories are chronicled throughout this blog.
I recently acquired Malini’s advertising booklet at auction (circa 1926) and was delighted for two reasons simultaneously. First, it is an honor to own this historic memorabilia of a prominent magic figure. The booklet is in very good hands.
Second, the text of the booklet has confirmed that Max Malini stayed and performed regularly at the hotel where I’ve presented Chamber Magic for the last decade: the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
In his advertising booklet, he includes laudatory letters from prominent figures, including President Harding. Here is one of the inside pages, containing personal notes from General Pershing and Vice President Charles Dawes […]
My favorite comment after returning from my Philadelphia tour was an email I received from a guest. He wrote, “Your show is a thing of beauty, a magical symphony.” Wow. What a nice compliment. But I must say that Philadelphia audiences – who came out in droves to the magnificent Four Seasons hotel last week – made my job a pleasure indeed.
Whenever I launch the show in a new city, there is considerable risk on my part. Will people show up? How do I get the word out? Do I have any fans in that city who can help drum up interest?
Fortunately, Philadelphia is close enough to my home base in NYC that the word spread quickly. I even got a little advance press on a cool blog that has a large local following. The four shows sold-out swiftly, even before I arrived in town.
Another part of the risk in performing in a new city is that […]
It’s the dream of any performer to stand on-stage at Carnegie Hall, presenting what they’ve trained their entire life to perfect.
I’ll have my chance on January 12, 2012, and I’d love it if you would share this momentous evening with me.
Carnegie Hall has three performance venues – I’ll be performing in their most intimate: Weill Recital Hall. Tickets went on sale this morning at 11:00am, and the box office tells me that they had people queuing up on the phones, waiting for the sale to begin.
This is a one-night only performance of my stage show “Theater of Wonder” – which is entirely different from “Chamber Magic,” now in its eleventh year at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. If you’ve been to my smaller show and want to see more magic, “Theater of Wonder” is for you.
Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall box office (57th Street and Seventh Avenue), through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or online […]
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 […]
Before serving dinner at a dinner party in Manhattan, my host asked that I do “a little something” for the guests. I declined politely — I don’t like to perform when I’m not actually working — but when people hear that there’s a magician at the table, they expect to see a trick. These were not children, mind you, but some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in New York.
I turned to the woman next to me and asked for one of her earrings. She was hesitant to remove one of her diamond studs for a magic trick. She thought I might damage it. But when our host nodded his approval, she allowed me to remove it.
“The Flying Earring Trick!” I announced, holding up my hand to silence the guests. The glittering diamond earring rested in my left palm, shining in the light from the chandelier overhead. I slowly closed my hand into a fist, and explained that I would make the earring fly – invisibly! – from one fist into the other. All of the guests looked at me with skepticism as I opened my left fist: empty. They craned their necks in closer. I then opened my right fist: also empty. The lady’s face turned pale.
“If the earring didn’t fly into my other hand, it could only have gone one other place.” I pointed to […]
Being the Millionaires’ Magician has placed me into some pretty amazing situations. Like the time I entertained at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington DC, during the Bloomberg after-party. This is the most “glam” party to attend, held at the Russian Trade Mission. Michael Bloomberg was there. Donald Trump was there. A-list celebrities at every turn. And it was my job to entertain them.
As I performed privately for two of the guests, I noticed that a photographer was furiously snapping pictures over my shoulder.
The photographer later informed me: “Those two men you just entertained were the Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Transportation. The only person who can usually bring them together is the President of the United States. And you just did the same thing with magic!”
This reminds me of another occasion, when Michael Bloomberg invited me to his Park Avenue office in NYC prior to being elected mayor. After chatting for twenty minutes about golf, memory techniques, and how to master a second language (he was studying Spanish), Bloomberg asked me to show him some magic.
Being the Millionaires’ Magician has placed me into some pretty amazing situations. Like the time my client — a high-end Israeli jeweler — hired me to magically pull a $2 million diamond necklace out of thin air. Or the time I performed for a wealthy businessman in Omaha who owns the original Louisiana Purchase document, handwritten by Thomas Jefferson. He keeps it on display in a climate-controlled museum case in his basement.
Last night I was booked to perform at a private show for just eleven people, in a Madison Avenue apartment in New York City. As always, I will not reveal the names or details of any people present, out of respect for privacy. Needless to say there were several billionaires in the room.
During the show, I asked the host if he had a favorite book. He answered, “Yes, it’s To Kill A Mockingbird.” I inquired if he had that book handy. His eyes darted to the corner of the room, and I followed his gaze. There was a hardbound copy of this book on display in a special place on a side table. He said, “I have another copy in the next room, but the one over here is a first edition, first printing. It’s in mint condition, and extremely rare.”
I took a deep breath and picked up the book. This would be my first time performing magic with a book that (I later discovered) is worth $25,000.
Instead of my usual routine, in which I handle the book, I opted […]
“Aside from his success, it is Steve Cohen’s charm and elegance which separate him from all but a tiny elite of world-class magicians. However, Steve is the only magician from that elite and highly-select group to take his show to an elite and highly-select audience. It is a true one-off: an intimate caprice of parlour diversion by an enthralling and consummate master.”
I also dug out an old photo of Derren with my wife and children […]
This blog post really “takes the cake” as one of the more flattering moments in my professional career.
I was invited to perform at a gorgeous English-style country home in New Jersey yesterday (video below), to celebrate my client’s 50th birthday. After the show was over, it was time to sing “Happy Birthday.” You can imagine the look of surprise on my face when I saw my magic teapot, “Think-a-Drink” decorated in icing on his cake!
Magician Jonathan Brown saw this photo of the cake, and wrote a lovely comment on Facebook: “You know, you can win awards, make a name for yourself, get on TV etc..but when a CLIENT loves your magic enough to put YOUR trick on THEIR OWN birthday cake…well I don’t know where you go from that!”