Departures Magazine: Magic’s Moment Is Now!

Departures Magazine

May/June 2013, p. 160

by Jim Windolf

Anyone with a handheld device is a magician of sorts. So how to explain the resurgence of old-fashioned magic in popular culture? Why are people falling for a brand of entertainment that seemed at its height a hundred years ago, when Harry Houdini was all the rage? Haven’t we moved beyond that?

Apparently not. In a private suite at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, Steve Cohen, known as the “Millionaires’ Magician,” presents a stately 90-minute illusionfest, Chamber Magic, five times a week. Last year he became the first magician in nearly four decades to appear at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and his refined act has impressed guests at the homes of Barry Diller, Martha Stewart and Warren Buffett, among others. And maybe that’s the role of magic these days – to provide a dash of wonderment for those who have seen it all.

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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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Jewish Museum – Houdini private dinner

The Jewish Museum in New York contacted me several months ago to entertain at a private dinner for their Chairman of the Board, Museum Director, and top donors, following the opening of the museum’s new Houdini exhibition. The dinner was held last night in a Park Avenue duplex apartment on Manhattan’s upper east side. I […]

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