The New Yorker, October 31, 2011
READINGS AND TALKS BEHIND THE CURTAIN
The magicians Steve Cohen, Joshua Jay, Eric Jones, and Todd Robbins talk about where their ideas come from, in a discussion and demonstration at the Library for the Performing Arts. (917-275-6975.)
Here is the press release for the November 17th event, organized by photographer and writer Herb Scher.
For Immediate Release
Beyond the Cups and Balls: Magicians Look at Creativity and Innovation in Their Art
Magicians Steve Cohen, Joshua Jay, Eric Jones, and Todd Robbins Featured in Free Panel Discussion at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, November 17, 6 p.m.
Rare Magic Books, Letters, Posters, Scrapbooks on Display
Magic is an art that draws heavily from its heritage, and many effects with cards, coins, ropes, and levitating ladies have long been staples of the repertoire. Yet, like other art forms, it requires a well-spring of new ideas to avoid stagnation. In a field characterized by secrets and mystery where do new ideas come from and how are they realized? And what role does magic play in the realm of the broader expressive arts? Can it remain relevant in an era when movies, video games, and the internet offer heightened experiences that were not earlier available. A panel of four innovative and accomplished magicians, Steve Cohen, Joshua Jay, Eric Jones, and Todd Robbins will address these and many other questions in Beyond Amazing: Creativity and Innovation in the World of Magic, a panel discussion with demonstrations of relevant effects, presented November 17, 2011, at 6 p.m. at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The program will be moderated by photographer and writer Herb Scher. The event will be held in the Library’s Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza. Admission is free.
Each of the magicians on the panel has made innovative contributions to the conjuring field, whether by creating cutting-edge new effects for their own repertoires, introducing new tricks to the magic marketplace, finding fresh inspiration from magic of the past, or creating integrated works of magic and theatre. In addition to considering magical concepts in conversation, the Library will feature a display of rare materials from the collections of its Billy Rose Theatre Division, including programs, posters, photographs, and letters.
STEVE COHEN performs his highly-acclaimed show Chamber Magic on weekends in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. His show, presented in the style of a 19th-century parlor performance in the close quarters of a private suite, has entertained more than 250,000 guests over the past 11 years. He also performs in private homes and luxury venues around the world. Called the “Millionaires’ Magician” by Forbes magazine, Cohen was recently featured on the Late Show with David Letterman during the program’s close-up magic week, and has been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning and in The New York Times. His stage show, Theater of Wonder, will debut at Carnegie Hall, for one night only, on January 12, 2012.
JOSHUA JAY is an award-winning magician, author, and lecturer who has performed in more than 59 countries. He recently created Unreal, a one-man show with magic based on the story of his life. Through his monthly column “Talking About Tricks,” in Magic magazine and via his company Vanishing, Inc., Josh introduces a steady stream of new ideas to the world of magic. This year he was named Magician of the Year by the Society of American Magicians, and also was presented with the Merlin Literary Achievement Award. In 1998 he was crowned World Champion of Close-up Magic at the World Magic Seminar. He is the author of seven books on magic, including the best-selling MAGIC: The Complete Course [Workman, 2008]. This fall Workman is releasing his book as part of a set with magic props called The Complete Magician: Everything You Need to Put on a Show.
Regarded by his peers as one of magic’s rising stars, ERIC JONES has gained recognition for his dazzling work in the world of close-up magic. He has released a series of influential DVDs, including the three disk set An Extension of Me, and Metal, which is becoming a standard reference in the art of coin magic. Eric is also Head of Product Development for Ellusionist, an online magic company, where he works developing new products for the magic market. Directly prior to the Library discussion, Eric is appearing in an extensive magic lecture tour in Great Britain and Europe. This winter he will also perform for a week-long run in the close-up room of the prestigious Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
In his stage piece Play Dead, TODD ROBBINS conjures spirits, sends a spectator to the afterlife and otherwise creeps out his audience. Classically trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre, Robbins has created a number of theatre pieces, including Dark Deceptions at The New York International Fringe Festival, The Charlatan’s Séance at Two River Theatre Company and the off-Broadway show Carnival Knowledge. He has been a featured performer with Sideshows by the Seashore (at Coney Island) and is one of the producers of Monday Night Magic, New York’s longest-running magic show. Todd has been a consultant to several TV shows, including Criss Angel MindFreak, and has appeared on the David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Conan O’Brien late night TV shows.
HERB SCHER, moderator, is a photographer and writer. He recently covered New York’s Saturday magic scene for a feature article in The New York Times, and has written about the performing arts for numerous other publications. As a photographer he works for a number of corporate clients, including a wide range of nonprofit cultural and educational institutions. His only claim to fame in prestidigitation is the ability to roll two coins across his knuckles in opposite directions.