On June 2, 2013, I took the stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City for a memorable evening of magic. The program featured a screening of my History Channel program “Lost Magic Decoded” as well as a lively question-and-answer session, and a live performance of magic. Moderating the discussion was my pal and fellow magician Dick Cavett, the legendary talk show host, and we were joined by Robert Palumbo, the director of my program.
Here’s the introduction that Eric Lange read to the sold-out audience heard before we walked on stage:
“Welcome to a magical evening at the Y!
“Tonight we’ll be “Looking for Magic with Steve Cohen,” who has delighted and mystified audiences all over the world. He’s the star of Chamber Magic, the longest-running solo magic show in New York, presented each weekend in an elegant suite in the Waldorf Towers. His audiences include a who’s who of celebrities, royalty, and other notables. A media favorite, Cohen was also the star of a sold-out solo show at Carnegie Hall and a TV special you will see excerpts from tonight, Lost Magic Decoded, that premiered on the History Channel in 2012.
“Cohen will talk about the making of the film with the film’s writer, director and co-producer Robert Palumbo, whose credits include documentaries for HBO, Showtime and National Geographic. Steve and Robert traveled the world on their magic quest, so they have a few stories to tell!
“We’re honored to welcome back famed talk show host and author Dick Cavett, who will moderate their discussion. […]
Join us for a private screening of my History Channel special, “Lost Magic Decoded,” that follows my journey across three continents in search of some of the most puzzling illusions of all time.
“Lost Magic Decoded” was praised by The New York Times (“baffling”) and USA Today (“jaw-dropping”).
The screening will be hosted by legendary talk show host Dick Cavett (click on his name to read his NY Times blog), and will include a discussion with the film’s writer/producer/director Robert Palumbo. I also plan to perform some live magic after the screening.
If you are in the New York area on June 2nd, I hope to see you there. [Click for more…]
Yes, that’s me standing in the Red Square in Moscow. And yes, Saint Basil’s Cathedral looks like a giant Carvel ice cream cake. It was certainly cold enough to stay frozen (see below)! My trip to Moscow was a great adventure, and I’d like to share some of the highlights with you.
The purpose of my trip was a private performance, held in a bona-fide palace owned by the Russian Foreign Ministry. I was invited to perform at the 60th birthday of Yuri Bashmet – one of the world’s finest viola players. Also present were my dear friend Anne-Sophie Mutter, and renowned conductor Valery Gergiev (of the London Symphony Orchestra). The audience was mostly Russians and Germans, but this was an extremely cultured crowd, and […]
A cluster of of well-to-do couples huddle in the lobby of the Waldorf Towers in New York City, buzzing with anticipation. At the stroke of 8:45 p.m. on Saturday evening, a tall man in a tailored suit ushers everyone into a gold-plated elevator – the same one that the President of the United States rides when he stays in New York. Primping and fidgeting, the group lines up at a suite at the end of a hallway on the 35th floor. 58 people file in for tonight’s magic show in Steve Cohen’s living room, run solely by word-of-mouth.
Cohen’s “Chamber Magic” shows inspire an intimate, old-timey parlor feel. Attendees, many of whom have purchased tickets months in advance, are expected to dress well. He doesn’t bother with hats, rabbits, or sleight-of-hand tricks; instead, he uses one gleaming tea kettle to produce five different drinks at the audience’s request.
At age 10, Cohen worked the elementary school circuit, appearing at kids’ birthday parties and Cub Scout meetings. Now, he brings in about 300 viewers each weekend – including high-profile guests like Martha Stewart, Barry Diller, and David Rockefeller – and a seven-figure annual income. “I put people in an environment where anything can happen,” Cohen says, pausing to sip Kombucha tea (the ginger helps his throat). “People start thinking, Maybe there’s another force in the world, and this guy has control over it.”
We all know New York can be a magical place. But did you know that there’s real magic happening here? You only have to know where to find it.
Back in the 1800s, parlor magic was all the rage. European aristocrats would invite conjurers to entertain their guests with sleight-of-hand. Today, the tradition continues, and you don’t have to be a Vanderbilt to be invited. You do have to dress up, though.
Steve Cohen is “the Millionaire’s Magician” — he’s performed for Warren Buffet and the queen of Morocco, even at […]
I will be touring in September, and hope you can help spread the word. Tickets are now available for Chamber Magic performances in Atlanta. That’s right, Atlanta! The show will be identical to my long-running Waldorf-Astoria show in New York.
I’m excited to announce the following tour dates:
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
75 Fourteenth Street NE
September 21 and 22
(Four performances – 7pm and 9:30pm each night)
More details […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]