Steve Cohen: "Chamber Magic: Performance and Stories from a Magical Career" | Talks at Google
Steve. Cohen, who is here with us today is known as the millionaire's magician is, the star of the chamber magic show which is on at the New York Palace Hotel which I have been to see and it's fantastic, highly, recommended. It's, celebrating, its 20th, anniversary this year which is incredible. And had more than half a million people see it he's. Performed a millionaire's magician he's performed for royalty, billionaires. Movie. Stars all kinds of other people and I'm really really thrilled to. Have him here with us today but first I will also introduce his, co-creator, of chamber magic mark, levy who is a strategy, consultant and he is gonna say a few words initially. Levy. And I am one of the two co-creators. Of the show chamber, magic the other co-creator, is Steve Cohen the, millionaires, magician, in a moment he's going to be standing right here and doing magic for you but, before he, does that what. I would like to do is I'd like to ask you, a few, questions and. By, the way your, answers, may influence. Which trick Steve does it's, a little choose-your-own-adventure, kind. Of thing going so first, how. Many people. Here. Have ever seen. A magician. Perform. In person, not. On TV or YouTube or whatnot Steve. What percentage, is that I'm interested. 99. Oh wow, a very advanced group where, did you see a magician, like what, was the venue what was oh. You. Seen this so you went to chamber now all right we have a ringer you exert, where did you see a magician. Darren. Brown two nights ago, who else yes. Okay. I gotcha all right great so a very, advanced, group here second, question those. Of you who have seen a magician, in person. How. Many of you have, participated, in. A trick you were asked to select the card they, read your mind something, like that how many people actually. Participate. In a trick we got one person back there - for what, was the trick that you participate, in and what was your role. Okay. So. Alright great and so what did you do you you. Gave him a ring great how about yourself. You. Were asked, to answer questions, and they appeared later in the show beautiful, thank you for that my, third and final question, and again Steve. Is. Calibrating. Everything, that he's hearing right now my, third and final question is how, many of you consider, yourselves, magicians. That maybe, you did a lot of magic when you're a kid and even, though you haven't done magic, in a very long time you still associate. With being a magician, or maybe you've done magic, all along, or maybe you picked it up late in life maybe. You consider this, Google, thing to be a little side hustle for you and, you. Actually consider yourself a magician, first how many people are magicians in here. No. One am i seeing that right, okay. Cool. So Steve, thank, you all for participating Steve, based, on what it was I was seeing and I didn't have as good of you as you I'm thinking, that for your opening, trick that, you might either do, and tricks, by the way have names all, tricks, have names you might do $1.00, in 31 cents through the tabletop or that. Trick that we've actually never officially, named but we call it. The. Queen of Morocco, trick so, one of those I'm thinking unless you have another option. That you're quite. White queen of Morocco. Okay. Good, right sight lines are important all right so in order to do this trick because, Steve performs, in very intimate, close-up, surroundings, let's get a few people up here on stage to act as a further audience. Steve. You want to help me yeah. Leave. Your computers and over here move the lady you in the white and the gentleman right behind her right. There. Perfect. All. Right so, ladies and gentlemen, Steve. Cohen the millionaire's magician, and the queen of Morocco Trek.
Thank. You very much thank, you so much come. On max - thanks, so much - you could come right over, here on the spot the X right, under, the, big, safe this would drop on your head that's wonderful okay, terrific well this is actually not something that I typically, do but since based on your responses, I think it'll be perfect for all of you this, is a trick that I got a chance to perform for the queen of Morocco now I don't often get a chance to to perform for royalty, this is a kind of a thrill for, me and I, need someone amongst you here to act as the Queen of Morocco, so what. Do you think you want to be queen for a day okay. This is terrific so this happened at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where I used to perform, my show chamber magic and and. So, I asked the Queen of Morocco the actual Queen to shuffle a deck of playing cards so. I put the target cars onto the table and she, didn't pick them up instead. She just kind of nodded to someone it was a servant, he walked over. He. Picks up the cars and starts shuffling, them and giving them a good mix and my head is starting to think really fast now on the fly you think how do I do this because in fact for this trick to work, theatrically. The, cards have to be shuffled and, cut by the Queen so. I thought okay here's. Here's my plan your. Majesty, and I never call anyone your majesty except for my own wife I think. I need you to help me out can you please cut about a quarter, of the deck and put them on to the table so please do that right now about a quarter of the deck and. Put them on to the tail right about over there is a good spot that's wonderful, oh that's very good your majesty can you please do it again cut up another quarter of the deck we're. Gonna put them right next to it right over there wonderful and remember these cars have been shuffled of course by by her servant now can you please now cut off another quarter, of the deck put. Them right over here next to it very good and then the big question is would you like to shuffle the cards yourself where we'd like to designate one of the door friends here who would like to shuffle the cards or not, okay.
So Who do you understand. Okay. So please go ahead and shuffle those cars give them a good mix very, good and once, you've shuffled and cut those cards, I think, he's the best chef we're in the kingdom. This. Is wonderful thank, you very much I wasn't planning that but you did a fine job and can you Mert your majesty one final cut cut about a third or whatever is left and just put those any number is fine and put those into the fourth spot wonderful. So now is where the magic begins do. You remember your majesty the cards have been shuffled, the cards have been cut by people you designate it you imbued, some of your magic royalty, into these cards would, you please now come over here and turn, over the top card that you cut to turn, it over right now please and show, the people a. Queen. The, Queen has cut to a queen, now. Please turn over the second one go ahead. Another. Queen and, the, third in. The last. The. Queen of Morocco cut called Dorothy, I used up what the car as yourself he came from a good mix exactly. And as I was printing these cards away the, Queen of Morocco leaned into me and she, said she said mr. Cohan that's extraordinary I'm going to need to invite you to to. My country so you could perform that for my husband and, I, when I when she said that I said well no problem but when he cuts the cards he'll cut to all four kings. Now. As, Mark mentioned and as Andrew I mentioned earlier I do a show in New York called chamber magic the, show has been running now for 20 years and I'd like to share with you something I performed. As a boy because, of my uncle's influence my uncle was an amateur magician I'll tell you about him later but in order to do this why don't you squeeze in a little bit closer and you can also squeeze in a lot closer so yeah walk actually walking a little closer so you can everybody, walking over here so you can see good and that should be just fine and now, you can stay back actually it's a better specimen I don't trust you I trust her not you very. Good this. Is the very coin given, to me by my uncle it's, a pure silver, dollar a Morgan, dollar the reason I wanted you to come closer so you can see the head on the front correct and the. Reverse side tell us what do you see. What. Is it a. Griffin, or an eagle. What. Country are you from. Morocco. Harry, Oh welcome a big trip no, you're right the first time, it's a heads on one side tails, on the other will use the lady and the eagle as well, as a Griffin. Exactly. Yes, a Hippogriff okay, can you please hold onto the Hat and make sure it's empty you could take a look at make sure it's empty. That. Was thorough. It's. Not CSI you're doing fine here. Your majesty put your both of your hands out like so I want you to hold on to the brim of the head you shake it a few times the people down there can see nothing, falls out it's an empty hat and now you can simply stay put so thank you I'm going to spin this coin on the table while, it's spinning she'll place the Hat on top of the spinning coin you'll leave the Hat on the table and then step back to your spot it's super simple so here we go the coin is now spinning drop the head on top quick ooh. That. Was pretty good at, this point the coin is land it's either heads up or tails up and I'm not sure which however, I could help you miss, guess, correctly every time whether it's heads or tails what, do you think she. Says heads if it's heads I leave it as is to match her choice but, if its tail's now I can make the coin flip over to, match her choice without touching the Hat the, table or the coin, good. Trick. How. Many people here believe what I just said. Yeah. I'm not even sure myself everyone, please come in really close really lean in so you can see this yourself how do I do heads or tails how do we do. Okay. But there's a bird that has a head so Griffin's got a head. Tiny. Head with a little beak on it you know she's, too smart for me I tried to trick her I failed we're, gonna play this game again if I keep on doing this until you like it.
Hope. You hear out the next Wednesday at this rate here's, the second trick of my uncle he called this the vanishing, silver dollar a trick the, coin will disappear, he would say but you won't see it go no. Matter how closely, you watch. Push. It in. I. Used. To follow it up like this its back. When. You're six years old that's kind of a miracle he really is but you know we're all grown-ups here I'll show you the way it should look we were children in other words of magic truly existed. Hopefully, we look something as beautiful as this. You're. Very kind but would you be impressed if the coin reappeared. Back under, the hat this. Time heads, up. Which. Is I guess must be has definitive, answer he's. Thinking 5050 whoo-hoo-hoo. This. Guy's like I'd be more impressive here's a brick under the head you. Would pick it up miss Fez he can paint a quick quick go. You. Want a break. We'll. Give you our bridges our real brick under the head I don't know how we did it we did it together a brick, under the heavens enjoy. Exactly. And this guy over here he's very skeptical, I could tell in his eyes he's. Been looking at me like it. Was there the whole time. Everybody. Missed it but me. Need. To get that inside of your sleeves here does it fit up here asleep when I give it a try. She. Just gave gave a nice plug for Lululemon. Excellent. And now, finally. I did mention before about. Some magic that my uncle used to perform my uncle being an amateur magician this. Is something, which which has, been passed on to me you'd always gather the children around, our table and at, our family gatherings and he would ask us to really watch the table surface so in order to recreate that I this, is the old green mat he used to use made it feel like a poker surface, poker, table and will do this with with perhaps can you shuffle cards, not. So what can you change places with this, fellow right over here then give you the shuffle cards oh yeah. I assume there's, no assumption and over here can you shuffle a deck of cards we're get and and you guys are. That's. That's fine okay, no. Problem what you're about to witness then is not magic, but a conundrum, several. People have told me it's so disturbing, they, can't fall, asleep at, night if.
You Have any trouble, with what you're about to see say, stop, and we'll all go home but. If you like what you see please say continue, and we'll continue. I'm. Glad you said that we're just getting started, we're, going to begin over here you said you can shuffle a deck of playing cards and what is your first name I, know I got it I know can you please do people call you Annie. I. Know. Some people. Call Annie how, special so I Nellie would you please shuffle the cards on the table top now let's get it closed up so you people can see that she's roughly, and, okay. You know do, you know I knew knew how to shuffle but okay no. Problem, so those are pretty decent and actually you know the easier part is cutting them couldn't you just cut the cards please so, she shuffles, and she. Cut so usually the dill replaces, but that's okay we're breaking protocol and, fun so can you please us and knock through that dunk tongue and then you can still just pump them like this and then step back okay like actually. Exactly. Nick in Japanese same thing over here on this side and your name is Steven, oh you, spelled with a V or a pH a. V. Very. Good never, understood the pH okay. So Steven can you please shuffle the cards like she did on the tabletop just do your best. You. Know she's giving lessons after the show okay very. Good and Steven you also cut the cards in half, very. Good you want to cut him again. He's. Thinking it's free. Very. Good and now he has knocked the deck don't don't and you can step back in line over here next to her Majesty the cars have been shuffled on both sides shall we stop or continue. Now. We begin. Okay. I need, someone to help me and you seem like you're eager to help can you please tell me a color red or black which do you prefer, well, remove the red cards because he said so now watch this let's find some red cards in fact let's find them all as I remove the red cards you may be wondering, why I ask these people to join me or why I beckon the rest of you closer it's because sometimes I become, careless, I might, miss one or two red cards so folks especially over my shoulder if I miss one tell me we'll go back to pull it out but I think that we're all clear and can you just double check no extra red cards I'll, clear over here, terrific. Okay, I believe you forget the red cards will return to you very soon so please push all of the red cards inside the box there Steven push them all the way down and then close the lid and put them into your back pocket and you've got a space. In your back pocket just tuck those in your back pocket good same thing over here now the color called once again was red. It is we'll pull the red cards over here and I, know this takes a bit of time but. I can assure you the. She loved build-up to effect is, hi. We're. Not waste your time very, good and. A. Bunch of computer scientists guess that joke no one else gets that joke here we gonna put all the red cards and a, few more here few more here and boo there's a very thorough shuffle over here Anila I am super impressed double. Check can you come in a little closer here what do you think are the real clear, no. Extra red cards good, and you've got a very fuzzy jacket are there pockets are there pockets okay, wonderful okay so I please take the box over here and we need to fill up the box first these are the cards you've shuffled yourself, correct so why don't you push those inside push. Them all the way down close, the lid and put them into your fuzzy pocket so no one can touch them good, the cars are gonna shuffle them both sides shall we stop or continue. Finally. We begin last. Warning, make, sure if you over my shoulder that you can see and for our cameras you can see what's happening here now I know you begin please cut off about half of the cards would you put them right over here please. Are. You nervous. When. I'm around you two okay, sink, over here Anila let's take a look she randomly cuts, to here a black, nine the, nine of Spades the nine of Spades will place here. So as crossways, and then, on this side you shuffled these cards didn't you then you shuffle them in inordinate, amount more, than you needed to I understand.
We're, Going to pluck individual, cards at the top of each deck as my. Hands move they, move in a rhythm left, and right at the same pace as, we go down the line they're different each time until, here. When. Something peculiar, happens. A. Perfect. Match. Shall. We stop, or continue. That's. Just the first coincidence, we'll try this again in fact I'd like you very much this time if someone else can shuffle excuse, me um can you come in a little bit closer and shuffle the cards yourself shovel, both decks together yeah why not I'm feeling crazy today oh. Good. Oh. With. The bridge. Did. You did you bring a custom pool cue -, he's. A ringer okay, he, made a rainbow of colors now hopefully the overhead camera can see it's a real mishmash, of, colors with, your right, or left hand rather hold on to my wrist hold on to my wrist over here and, hold on to my wrist on this side thank you just watch the watch I'm a collector thank, you and, your, majesty, your chance to please out tell us a number. Between. 1, and 15, allowed, -. Oh that's, like the lower limits okay and and would you like the color red or blue, blue. Because i choosing blue -. Watch. Closely i, count number one and number. Two oh it happens to be blue which is great okay so we'll slide out the second blue card can. You agree yeah, okay keep holding on your cell will count from, the other end - over here with my fingers and we'll. Start with the Reds this time it's number one and that's, number two. Now. If she had set a higher number we would count 11. 12 13 14 but this is a very close to the beginning and very close to the beginning but has there been anything tricky on your side, or. Here. Then. Let go of me. She's. Tighter but thank you I appreciate that I know and, after all that shuffling, and mixing what are the odds these specific, two. Are. A perfect. Match. You're. Very kind but shall we stop for it continue, continue. Now over our heads we have some very, strong lamps, these lamps will help in the final stage of this experiment, I shall, place the cards into two piles one, on the left and one on the right after, all the shuffling and mixing after, all the cuts and the extra cut and the Fancy Pants shuffle which I wasn't expecting sir. After, all that hopefully. The shadow is created by the lamp overhead, will change, everything. Ladies, and gentleman please crane. Your necks in, watch. These shadows. It's. Done, after, all this shuffling the top to now. And. The. Bottom. And. The next. And. The next and. The. Next, in, fact my friends, every. Card that's the Kings the jacks twos, seven, Queen to four ace of spades and that of clubs every, card here every, card here ladies and gentlemen thank you so much for. Joining me today. Okay. Shall we stop her continue, I.
Totally. Forgot get the cameras back on please you had them in your pocket your fuzzy pocket open, that box up and take them out and if, we get the cameras back on please if you could take the cars out of your pocket as well please open up the box remove, all the cards from inside that's, right all the cars from inside over here the bottom card in his back pocket is the five of Hearts the bottom card in her fuzzy pocket, the five of hearts. And. The negs. And. The negs. In. Fact my friends every, card thanks. To Jack nine eight seven three five four the nine of diamonds every. Card here every, card here ladies and gentleman thank you so much for inviting me here today Oh. Shall, we stop work continue. Stop. Thanks. So much let's give them a nice hat as they go back to their chests like you still need to know it thank, you my string up your majesty thank you so much. So. If. You thought, that seeing. A master. Perform, was the highlight, of what you were going to see today you are wrong because. The, highlight, of what you're going to see is two, guys, sitting. In chairs, talking. About magic, tricks in a highly, abstracted. And philosophical. Way that's. What we're about to see right now I'm gonna ask Steve questions, about his life and about, how he creates magic, tricks and so forth he's going to ask me trick but, questions, about how we created the show and we're, also going to open up the floor you get a chance to ask one of the Masters any questions. You want about magic, right. So Steve please oh and. By the way if, you still stay, there don't sit down, if you, hang. Out Steve, may, perform. One more trick, at the end of the day so Steve. Have. A seat, thank you all, right so tell, us how. Did you get started in magic well, the the traditional answer of course is like I tricked into it but. The real answer is that my uncle was an amateur magician I. Grew. Up in Westchester County about an hour north of here and. My. Uncle used to come over to all of our family parties and show his card tricks and tricks with coins and hats and. He had one trick that he would show us with a little. Knight full pocket knife that changed colors changed, from red to green to white to black and and. He let me have that knife which, is kind of ridiculous that you know for an adult to give a little six-year-old boy in life turn around different times exactly so. Anyway, so so he used to perform these pocket tricks and he would teach me his pocket, tricks but, he taught them to me in a way that was pretty funny. You. Know we, always have these family parties with people smoking cigarettes and so, when he would make a coin for example disappear, in his hand it, looked like it disappeared into a puff of smoke because. The whole room was full of smoke my. Wittle boy his eyes it was like he was making the smoke up here when the coin vanished. So. So in any event my uncle would teach me a trick like the coin trick and then he would say if you master, this, next. Time we have another party I'll teach, you the next trick so, you kind of strung me along, and. And one by one little by little it just. Built up on top of it was like an apprenticeship, and then right, you know or a drug dealer I don't know, the. Other but. Yeah but in any event so so, I perform, magic shows in my hometown for. Little birthday parties so the children would be they have a foretold birthday party I was 10 years old I got hired I did a 25-dollar gig. At, the age of 10 people. Paid me to come and perform for their son it was a foretold boy I'll never forget his name because it's my first show his name was Daniel Gersten, Zhang how. Can you forget that name so if Daniel Grayson Zhang is watching this hello, thank. You for starting off my premiere. But. In any event you, know there's different types of training. For magicians and probably, one of the best is a. Magic.
Summer Camp that. Takes place it's been going on for over 30 years maybe. I should over 40 years now and I. Went, to this summer camp now that you know there's basketball camp and baseball camp ballet, camp but, there's actually a camp for magicians and there's. All these kind of nerdy kids like me who wanted, to learn magic and the counselors. Are all professional, magicians so, I got a chance to to learn from some of the best oh wow speaking. Of learning from some of the best when, when, you talk to magicians, about who, their heroes, are you always hear the same names like Houdini and so forth I mean and these are heroic figures, but, I know you, also. You. Love certain magicians, that the general public has really just not heard of too much tell, us about one of them and maybe something odd that this, magician. Does sure, well one. Of my favorite magicians, that the audience would not be familiar with mister. Already a magician, yourself is. Max. Malini, we name that his name rhymes with Houdini, so it, has a nice ring to it but max malini was he. Is my hero. He, performed, magic for kings and queens he performed for billionaires. Of his day the Vanderbilt, family and. He, used to go around the world performing, it with a little satchel and all. Of his entire act would fit inside of the satchel and he. For example pioneered. The idea of pulling the brick out of the Hat the one that I just showed to this audience although. He didn't do it with a brick coming out of the head all the time sometimes, he would have other things come out of the head so he, had a brick, of ice like a giant block of ice that, came out he may have heard in Ricky J's. Documentary. The wonderful documentary by Ricky Jay his life that, he performed that trick with the block of ice as, have I has influenced, both of us by Max Malini I've, also done it like Malini has done with the coconut coming out of the head when I did the show in Hawaii, and. Also an alarm clock where those old fashioned alarm clocks have the little bell that rings back worth with the hammer the moment you lift up the Hat then it. Starts to ring and everyone goes crazy, right. So anyway so max malini was also, famous for being very gutsy he, was a short little guy probably 5 foot 1 5 foot 2 very thick Eastern. European. Accent, and. When. He wanted to make an impact on people he would sometimes get into their personal space in. A way that may have not have been comfortable for the victim, one, of the things he did and he's most well-known for is he. Was in Washington DC he, wanted to try to get an in to the White House he wanted to figure out how he could perform for the president, President. Teddy Roosevelt at the time so, was, I was actually a heart and predicate President Harding and so, so, he figured, he had to get a in through the side door the way he did that was going, to Congress, he. Found a senator a u.s. senator, he says excuse me mr. senator and he grabs the the Senators arm and he bites off, the. Button, from the Senators sleeve and he, pulls the button out of his mouth and the threads are dangling down and then, the you know the security.
Back Then is different it is now but. He says mr. senator it's no problem I am X maleeni the magician and he takes the button and then reattached, it to, the sleeve and it was sewn back on magically. Magically magically. And so, that was actually his entree into performing, in the White House which. He got the invitation later that week what's. Like a piece of philosophy. For Malini that guides you or that you think people would be interested, Malini's. Most well-known, phrase. Is to. Wait a week now, remember he had a very thick Europe. Eastern European accent so when he says wait a week it was faint, a week, the. Double, has become V's and what, he means by that or what he meant by that was, you, know magic often, relies on misdirection. Or, directing, the audience's, attention from. One area to another, if. The. Audience is burning, your hands as what we call it in the in the jargon and the business if the audience is burning your hands it's very difficult to to sleight-of-hand, tricks how, can you possibly you know throw a coin into your jacket or something up your sleeve you know if if everyone's, watching so, a famous, magician named Charlie Miller asked max malini what. Do you do if people were burning your hands and he says I wait and, then. Charlie. Miller says how long do you wait he, says a Lavetta week, and. So meaning like you know you have to be patient to do things on your terms, as, opposed to the audience's, terms right. Interesting. When. Did you when. Did you start chamber magic and how did you go about starting chamber, magic well you know the answer because you were right there with me I was so. The show began 20, years ago I'm waiting to see if you mentioned me yeah I. Everything. Else I'm not paying any attention exactly, yeah this. Is the mark levy show now right so. So you, know the, show began 20 years ago we began working on at 21 years ago and. I began the show actually in my friend's apartment here. In New York City it, was originally, intended to be kind of a small, show for about 20 30 people maximum, and my friend down in the West Village at this beautiful apartment that was decorated, with a Victorian theme so, he, said if you'd like to come and do a show in my apartment, you're welcome to do it which, we did we rearranged the furniture and, I invited some of my clients and some of my friends and I put on these shows for a few weeks the, problem was his wife then said you, can't keep on inviting strangers into our house and, in rearranging, the furniture every, week you know the management of our building started to ask questions so.
So. I moved the show from there to the arts club in Gramercy, Park, it's, a private member's Club for. Artists, so the, place is just beautiful. There's stained glass windows, and there's beautiful members. Artwork, on the wall and. They also support, Performing, Arts so, I convinced, the owners, the management, there to, let me do Chamber magic there. And this is a full collaboration between you, and me with all the the concepts, in the show and, at the very end of that run, which, was about 2 or 3 months the. Management, said look you have to find a new venue because we closed for the summer. So. Now I'm out on the street wondering what am I going to do but at that last show I thought I've got an idea I'll ask the audience, I'll crowdsource, this so. Who in this audience knows any place I might be able to perform, after this venue closes for the summer and one, lady came up to me she said, her name is Holly peppy and Holly, happened. To know people who worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. And. She. Introduced me to the director of catering and. The director of catering says no no no we don't do magic here this is the Waldorf Astoria, and. And, my new, friend Holly said no you have to just trust me it's not just a regular magic, show you really have to see this so. I got, invited to perform in the the. Royal, Suite on the 42nd, floor is where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor used to live and I'd perform there, as. A trial for the first few weekends and then stayed there for the next 16 and a half years, performing. Over. 4750, shows there so. The big question I'm going to switch back to you because I know you're eager to speak, is. What. Type. Of thinking, did you do because you're a differentiation. Guy like you work with of. Course you know you know magic and you're a magician yourself, but you also work, with consultants, and helping them differentiate, them so how, did you help me create a show that. Was. Appropriate. For that venue right so differentiation. Right everyone knows what that is it's it's, what's the core of what, this thing is that.
We're Looking at the business or so and how, do we talk about how do we, what's. The thing that best, separates, it from everything, around it and then how do you talk about it and write about it in a clear engaging way so, with you. Like what makes this special so. With you I remember, I saw you perform I thought you were brilliant, and but. You didn't, perform the way you do, now right you weren't dressed this way you didn't, do the same tricks, right, he had a very different show and he he, dressed more like a normal person unlike. A, very, upscale guy so. I realized. After, like. Steve, really had the chops but also he went to Cornell like, he was super smart he, grew up in Chappaqua, New York, which is a very moneyed, area, there are millionaires, there are what now and I realized, looking, around the magic, scene that there were people like Penn & Teller who were the bad boys of, magic, and David, Blaine you know who's the street magician, or wanna and I, realized, that no one was doing magic for the filthy rich. Like. The decadently. Sickly. Rich you. Know right that's how differentiation. People think it's like you go you go to an extreme it's like so I said this guy I think, you know he's, sophisticated, enough, we need to change how he dresses, we, need to change how the show, happens. And what the illusions, are and so forth but I think he could be that guy and so. We, made him Steve Cohen the millionaires, magician, entertainment. For exclusive, events, and it, was actually a very. Engineered. Thing right. It's it's like it was strategic, it was like here's, the spot in the marketplace, that allows, you to be the artist that you want to be but, that would sell in the world and even. When we were designing the show Steve. And I used to talk about the, million right he's Steve Cohen the millionaires magician we used to talk about the, millionaires, magician, as, independent. Of us like. A third person like a third right it's like oh yeah the millionaires, magician, wouldn't do that I think the millionaires magician, would do X, right. Correct yeah, what's your thinking what do you have - well, that's a hundred percent right you know it was all with the the, intent of being able to remain. An artist like it wasn't all engineered, you know strictly from, a, financial. Gain. Perspective. Is really I wanted to do magic no matter what magic. Is in my blood I've been doing it since I was a little boy at the age of six so, you, know how can I do magic how, can I make a business that would support my love for this so, I was willing to do anything and, this, action would Marx have suggested to me what you suggested was, just so up.
My Alley just it felt like it would click but, the nice thing is that even, though it was a construct. To begin with I kind of grew into the character and so. You, know now the things, that I wear and the things that I say and the people who I rubbed shoulders with are, the people who I was originally, aiming, my, marketing. Toward now I feel like on one of them so it actually has made it I've kind of grown into the the character that we created speaking. Of that related to this at Chamber, magic at your show there's, a, man, this is all you right this was not part of me what, I did you, have a strict, dress code yep, for chamber magic tell us what that is and why you decided, to do that right so you know the, the dress code was to match the dress code at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel because. They had a dress code of especially in the evenings of wearing cocktail attire so we made the show, dress. Code cocktail, attire meaning, jackets, and ties for gentlemen dresses, or you know fancy outfits for ladies and I've. Gotten some pushback for, that or for you know early on especially where. People would say well I'm not going there's not a state dinner for the president, why, don't you get dressed up for a magic show it's. Just a magic show right and I've paid my money actually, be. Able to wear whatever you like and even if you go to Broadway now you'll, see people wear whatever they want flip-flops, or shorts tank top people wear whatever they like but. I wanted to create a and something. That was equivalent to going to the ballet or to the Opera so, it was like a destination, and then when you get there and you look around you stand this is such a beautiful place boy, when I feel out of place if I was wearing flip-flops or, a tank top you know so everyone's, wearing it so it kind of makes everyone feel that. Is the appropriate attire and then, during the show I actually thank, the audience I thought I'd show my great my gratefulness, and my appreciation, and I'll say you know I want to thank all of you for getting dressed up today following the dress code is not common for people to do so this day and age but. You look terrific and then at whenever I say that I always see the girlfriends nudging the boyfriend, saying see I, told you, guys like. How. Do you go about creating a. Magic, trick. Well actually I'm gonna I want to ask you your method. First I, I know my answer but I'd like to know because I know you have a very unusual or, peculiar way I do have creating, magic so I think people would be interested in hearing oh yeah, well so, when, I was a kid and I used to perform magic, I was this sleight-of-hand, guy I did, all kinds of coin manipulations. And all kinds of things but, then as I started, to get older and I'm talking about when I was a teenager I started to. Develop a. Benign. Tremor, you know I don't have any disease, you know Parkinson's. Or something like that I don't have any of those but I have this benign, tremor, and it. Start, it got its start to get worse and worse and it. Made it difficult for, me not only didn't. Make it hard for me to minuted manipulate. Coins or cards but I couldn't even know, if, I'd be shaking enough to hold up a glass if I would be able to do that so, I started to develop a style of magic where, I, try. To, touch. The pride. To have as few as props as possible, and I tried to be as far away from the props as possible, right, and so I approach. Things, even, regular, magic, tricks almost, like I was a Mentalist, almost like I was a mind reader that it was you know that what I was doing was real that this was mind magic, or so and that kind of aesthetic because, right we've created tricks. Together for, chamber, magic, that, kind of aesthetic I still, use to that day it's, usually not these outward shows, of manipulation. It's, usually right. It's usually uh. Staying. Away, from the trick mostly, because there's. Nothing I could do if I was there in front of the props I might as well stay away well so the other brilliant thing that I think mark brings to the table in our collaborations.
Is. His, storytelling abilities, you know mark hasn't he has got the gift of gab he, loves to talk and tell stories and say, things in a very engaging way. So. So, I actually have technique that I can use so when we work together a lot of times I'll find an old trick something, that hasn't been seen maybe four dead, Cades or even centuries and then. Mark, will say well here's how you might want to present that so that it's interesting and more engaging than you thought and this. Way actually is a kind of a double layered layer, level, of interest you know my technique plus his storytelling has, really created something special, we're like master blaster, from Beyond Thunderdome, it's like we're two separate, things and we go together and, form, one person okay, right. Exactly, right, so, you'll. Be master I'll be blaster exactly. When you see magic. Tricks done by other magicians, are, you fooled um. I love to be fooled I'm not often fooled, being. Fooled is a joy one, of the joys of not, being a magician that, you can. You. Can watch something which is an artistic expression and then not, not be able to follow the steps and suddenly there's something beautiful surprise, you at the end I wish, I could still feel that it's. Rarer, and rarer the longer I've been in magic but, once in a while you find a magician who's taking some ideas and combine them in a peculiar, way and suddenly. There's something that will even fool the magician's, Penn. & Teller is foolish actually is a show that kind, of focuses, on that exact concept which is can you fool the master magicians, and. As you know if you've ever watched that show it's rare that, Penn & Teller get fooled when they do it's a big brouhaha I think you know a big fan fair so, it's a similar thing for me I don't. Often get fooled but I love to be fooled um. Do, you ever when you perform, you've performed in Carnegie Hall you've, performed on TV, you've performed, for royalty, do you ever get nervous the. Most nervous I've gotten I there's two senses. That come to mind one of them was when Woody Allen came to the show at, the Waldorf and I grew, up watching Woody Allen's films so, seeing him there front and center right there in the front center seat and when. I walked out and saw him there I kind of went, into a fight-or-flight mode, or my hands start getting all clammy and my, tongue get all dry and I was like oh my god there's gonna be a big failure but at the moment I started the show he started laughing and clapping more than everyone else even I think it's because he was an amateur magician or a young a magician, in his early days doing. The stage his, club sets so, anyway, so he was really supportive and that put my anxiety. At ease but, probably the biggest. Fear. That I ever had was when I went on the David Letterman Show The. Late Show David Letterman and I. Remember you were there I don't think you remember this because you saw me after I got my makeup put on but. I went, down to the makeup room and the. The, makeup artist says are your ears always so red. And. I was like what are you talking about and she said look in the mirror and I looked it was like they were lit, up with LEDs, it. Was like Rudolph the red-nose I mean it was like bright, red ears, and it was just I guess the anxiety, of the nerves kicked, in I never, felt this way before and, and. She's okay don't worry we'll put some makeup on it so she cakes on some you, know some makeup and and paste it on there so when I came down you probably didn't even recognize it on TV you can't see how, nervous I was but that was kind of the signal right, right, and, I remember. Would that Letterman, Show right.
If I may talk about something that that we had discussed beforehand, he, Steve. Was super, nervous and, I, remember, reasoning. With him because I had never seen him nervous before I just never, and I'd known him for years by that point and I. You. Know I I said to him are, you going on the Letterman Show cold, or had Letterman, sent, Booker's. In, order to watch you like at the Waldorf, and he said no three, different times they sent people up over the course of months to watch me perform and, I. Said and did they like what they saw and he, said yeah of course they're asking me to be on the show and I said well. There you go do, you think that these Booker's, are saying, going. Back to David Letterman and saying we saw this guy Steve Cohen he's, pretty, good but, maybe if we put him on the show he'll be better than he is you. Know like maybe I'll up his game a bit, like and it's obviously, that's not the case so, like who you are when. You're doing things normally. Is who, they want on the air they're, not expecting, anything better, so who you are is enough even, when you're performing and maybe, you get distracted with, thoughts what should I have for dinner or those kinds of things that's the guy they want performing, right and Mark, said to me I remember specifically, as we're standing outside the dressing room and and. He said to me you only have to be as good as you normally are and that was that put me at ease I was so nervous but the moment you said that he said something like you, know if you're a baseball player and they're. Gonna be traded from one team to the other the new team doesn't expect you to have a better you. Know batting. Average than when you're on your old team so, just be as good as you already are that's that put me at ease right, so, you've been on speaking. About being on TV you've had your own TV special, on the History Channel lost. Magic decoded. And of, course History, Channel, so what Steve did was, there, were four major, illusions. Some. Of which people, wondered, if they were real, they were legendary, illusions. And some were dangerous, illusions, and so, Steve over the course of months went, around the world to discover, did.
Some Of these tricks exist, and if they existed, did people really perform, them and what was the history about them so can you tell us what those tricks were and maybe, something surprising that, you learned sure well the fort the four main tricks, in the History Channel show were. The Mechanical. Turk which. Some of you may be familiar with this the automaton, that could play chess against, a human and win like. From the Edgar Allan Poe story, also. The, light and heavy chest in, which ro-bear who Don a famous magician from France stripped. Away the power of a mighty warrior so, he couldn't lift up this tiny little wooden box even though a small child could lift it up with no troubles, the. Next one was the Indian rope trick which. Is where the and I went to India to find a magician who could perform this for me which. Is where a rope levitates. Up 20 or 30 feet into the sky the, little Indian boy climbs up to the top of it disappears. Into a cloud of smoke and. That was trick number three trick, number four was the bullet catch which. I performed myself and lived. To tell the tale because I'm here with you today the. Bullet catch tell us what the bullet catches that was probably the craziest thing that I have, ever attempted so. The bullet catch as as you. May have seen or heard before is a magic, trick where the magician catches, a bullet in his or her teeth and. So. The way that we performed it on the show was it was in a firing range in Brooklyn, it. Was, right. Why is it funny but. I did say a firing range in Staten Island. And so so, then, their shooter was was on the other end he's a sharpshooter he has a Glock 19 regulation. And my PD pistol the, bullet was marked, by an, audience member and then, fired at my face through a sheet of pain glass and. The reason that the glass is there is because, it proves that the projectile is actually moving from point A to point B otherwise. I could just be a cap gun so. He, fires, the gun at my face and then, as planned I catch the bullet my mouth however, while. We were doing, the photos of the video shoot I felt. Something else hit me at the same exact time in my chest and I thought. To myself wait a minute this can't be two bullets because I only saw one muzzle, flash you've, never most of you probably never been on the receiving. End of, a gun I hope but. But you see the muzzle flash go off and it. Wasn't bambam it was just BAM but, I felt something. Hit my chest as I was moving my head back to reveal the bullet and so. I fell, to the floor. Spit. The bullet out onto the ground and started. Cursing, like a sailor, and, Mark. You know me Steve, never, curses, never, curses, I'm a real I'm a real Boy Scout so so, so, I was, cursing for a specific reason and it, was kind of an we, hadn't planned this at all because it was not intended, but I was doing this in order to signal, to the director, into the videographer, that there was something wrong because, they wouldn't know that I wasn't trying to purposely, foul up this shot you, know this video shoot so um so, I was just cursing and yelling and I was down on the ground they, realized that there was a problem then because of my actions and so they ran over an EMT he cut open my shirt and that, was a big problem for me because it was a brand-new Paul Stewart shirt, brand. New shirt so anyways he cuts open the shirt and sees I had a blood. Tumor, hematoma. That happened from the glass when. The glass shattered, it was tempered glass and a, piece of the glass usually you know tempered glass like a windshield it beads, up up on impact and then all the pieces fall down that's, what we had rehearsed we had done it properly then.
During The live shoot the. Bullet makes. The glass go off and then the firing, of the glass then hits, my chest and, it. Didn't penetrate, my chest but it gray me and end up with this blood, tumor that kept on growing, and. For several months it was this giant saucer. Like size of a. Blood tumor that kept on changing colors it was really disgusting but my. Director, then says oh we have to get this we have to get this all on camera so, the ending of the show is, me. Getting loaded onto a gurney take, getting taken to the hospital and, and. So while we're in the in the ambulance the director, of the show say this is wonderful we have our ending. Like. I'm in severe pain you think you like the network's gonna love this, and, so. So, anyways. So the wouldn't, you ask what I learned from this I learned never to do that again rhyme, that's, why I do card, tricks stick to card tricks the. Most dangerous part of my act now is paper cuts right. Right does, anyone, in the crowd does anyone have a question for Steve right now and if you do if you could go up to the microphone. These. Could be questions about magic they can be questions about the history of magic anything you saw today I won't, answer any questions that begin how'd you do it that's off the table so don't Kenny wise ideas just. Awakening before you get started well I forgot to mention in the beginning there, is a graphic, novel which is inspired by Steve's, life it features murder and kidnapping and, lots, of other things so. You have to get to tell which bits are real and which are not but, they'll be for sale at the end and there Steve may be kind enough to autograph a couple yeah yeah thanks thanks for reminding me sigh I brought up a copy just to flip through this so this, this book is I'm very proud of this which is why I hope that some of you get a chance to read it it's, a comic book of my life a graphic novel the. Foreword was written by David Copperfield, the, artwork is done by artists who work on daredevil, for, Marvel and the current. Color for. Batman. Her, name is Jordi bel-air did, the the coloring, so if you're interested in comic books or graphic novels I think you might get a real kick out of this it combines, as Andrew mentioned some, elements of my life and some things that have never happened because I've actually never murdered, anybody.
Yes. Please thank, you so much for this show it's really great I have a question about your thoughts on magic, in general is, how this magic evolved, with. The help of high equip like high tech equipments, or, electric. Device are. There, magicians, like create. New fix or by, design and create the new devices or. Can't, you do the more traditional way great. Question so I think there's still a little bit of both magicians. Have, always been on the cutting edge of technology. So. Before technology is often available, to, the, public magicians. Have tried to get our hands on that to, be able to have a little bit of an edge against. What the, public, is aware even exists, so yes certainly there has been a usage of technology, but, personally, because I'm very old-school I like, to use a minute the old-school, techniques, now, having. Said that a lot of my research is done with very height and. Technology there's. A beautiful, wonderful library, here in New York City called the conjuring. Arts Research, Center which, sounds like it's someplace out of Hogwarts but, it's a real place here in Manhattan and the conjuring arts Research Center. Actually. Has scanned. Optical. Scanned every, page of every book in their library millions of pages and these books go date back to the 15th century maybe, even older some. Of the books are so delicate that if you turn the page they might crumble and, all the secrets would vanish so. They're in a kind, of a climate-controlled, vault anyway. All of the pages have been scanned. And then turned, through. Scanning. Technology, into, searchable, PDFs, so, if I want to find how to do a new trick or an old trick I can, simply go to the country or its research center type in let's say trick, with an egg or trick with a rope or the Indian rope trick and every, instance, of that trick will now be at my fingertips instantly, so, these are books that are not even available on Google books or in things like this only because they're proprietary, and some of them are still in copywriting thank.
You Over. Here yes miss hello. My. Colleague asked a very similar question to what I was going to ask but, first I wanted to share I first, learned of you Steve last week my, aunt who lives in California sent, an article, I believe on MSN, if that was that recently, or she just found it and. Then I came into work the next day and received, the email announcement that you would be performing, so that felt very magical, I blended. I. Believe. You fully and. So. I wanted to know you know you've been, performing this show for 20 years student magic your whole life how do you see public. Interest. And reception, to magic having evolved. Where. Is it now and, where do you see it going, that's a great question thank you so you know I think that that magic. Has evolved. In a way that people are now watching more of it on their screens, you. Know we can if, you're interested in magic on your lunch break you couldn't open up youtube and watch endless. Number of YouTube videos either. Of magic tricks or even magic tutorials, teaching, you how to do tricks and in. A way that's beautiful because, in that sense you can as, a magician reach a massive, new, audience but, from, my personal perspective I, think that magic needs to be something that people say it happened, to. Me I need, to be I need my audience to say I was, the one who is on the recipient personally, so, in, my mind I think it's always best to see a magic show live, of. Course you know from a business perspective you. Can reach more people you. Know with a massive audience but that's smaller one. To one you know screen is it's really the it, just. Never really matched that in a live audience live perspective. Also. When. You're dealing with with. The ability to Google, anything, for. Instance you could even Google secrets right so let's say you watch a magic show I've actually have magician, colleagues, who, they have, told me horror stories, that they're performing, let's say at a bar mitzvah party, or they're performing at a wedding and then. While they're performing their close-up, magic someone. From the table or someone in that audience will take out their phone and start googling, that trick the, methodology while. The trick is actually being performed to them so. In real time that someone's trying to decipher how the trick is done like oh okay so and I think that the way that magicians can beat that is. Number, one by not. Using the. Names of the tricks in their presentation. It's like as Mark mentioned before, tricks, have names so, for example if a trick is called the ambitious, card if, I say I'm going to show you my ambitious card routine then, anyone now consider okay how does ambitious card work because that's the title that they just heard so, you can come up with cockamamie, titles. As a magician to throw people off the scent another, way to do it really is to try to find old, tricks, that haven't been seen for a long time for, those of you who have been to my show you might have seen the trick called think, a drink which, is where I have a silver teakettle, that pours almost, any drink you could ask for all, around the room one by one by one everyone drinks their favorite cocktail or their favorite drink and people. Go crazy and then, of course I know they go back home and the first thing to do is think, a drink Google how's it done and and. And, fortunately, most of the articles that are out there are ones that I've written myself. About. Not how the trick is done but, but. How these, trick, came to be in the history of it but I think that you know there's, there's, art appreciation, courses, right but, there's really no magic appreciation. Course so, if anything what I've tried to do on my own blog is. To give people the chance to find out about the history of where these tricks came from and hopefully you can appreciate it better that way. Thank. You so much yes, well let's do one more and then you'll show us that final, trick so we do it yeah, but let's have this young lady, yes well, Steve thank you so much for being here I celebrate.
My Birthday at one of your shows a years, ago so big. Fan my, question has to deal with like, the. The magic industry in general and kind, of the future of that so somewhere in the same vein but we. Seem like a lot of men are magicians right. We don't really see too many female magicians, but, I know from your show and talking to you before, your. Daughter is, a magician correct, she's. Been learning yes yeah and do you see, yourself, like kind of pushing her in that direction to, maybe taking over what, you've started, or like mentoring, her to where she really can have her own niche in the industry oh that's that's a really great question there's far too few female, magicians. My. Daughter her name is June she's a wonderful. Dancer, and and comedian. And, she's. Just she, has great stage presence when, she cuts on like on stage so what we did is we've. We've done on Father's Day weekend a double act where, she'll come on and she'll do a mentor mentalism, mind-reading, trick that, really, is it kills she's, really phenomenal on it so. So. I, really. Have encouraged and it's also very endearing to see a father and her daughter work together. On stage so. So we've done that act before and my son is. Not as much of a magician, he's more of a soccer player so, he has slight afoot rather than sleight of hand, but, but into dance your question I I. See, more and more female, magicians, at Magic clubs and at. Magic meetings there's you know organizations, of magicians I'm a member of the Magic. Circle in London where. There are numerous more, I used to be an all-male organization, and they opened up the the, membership, to females and there, are now plenty of female, magicians not enough but, more and more and I think that, that's. Something that maybe the next generation. The next evolvement. Of magic, you, know if you look at there's a great book. It. Was called the chalice, and the blade by, Iliad. A you know a mustache Renda and she talks about how you know it's a feminist, history book so it talks about how the earliest, magicians were. Female. Shamans. In in, early societies, because think about what, can a woman do that a man can't do we just create something from nothing right, so that's a very magical act and over, the course of centuries then, that magical. Power got, taken away from female. To male, and of course all of the theatrical magicians, that we see mostly. Are male regardless. I think that there's a real opening, there for the, clever female, magicians in the future thank you so much, so that. That. Next trick that final, trick and should, we get someone up on stage oh yeah let's do that yes maybe we can get Ashley the lady who was here for her birthday why don't she should, come back up the, way D who came from the brick you knew she can come on stage and there maybe we can get one more person over here so yeah with the fellow over here he seems like he's eager. Maybe. Too eager. Yeah. Sent over here very, good in the lady couldn´t come over here wonderful, and I think we should get the camera on here so people who are on the sides can see everything a little bit better and once you come a little bit closer over here and you come in a lot closer over here not, too cool right there it's good okay and can. We get the cameras so people can see wonderful, that we're ready to begin and I don't know your name Audrey, and I'm, John John, Brigid Tyrone okay. Can you please rub, my hand make sure it's empty. Yeah. Who, is this guy who let him in here very. Good writer. If ik thank you for doing that and I'm going to cover up the hand and now that you're here. Can you please touch, my thumb right. You feel it's thumb now hop over to my pointer finger that's number two the number three number four and, number five Did you touch all five fingers good now I need you to put out two fingers like this Audrey and please touch my palm so, you feel my palm okay, so those of you who are watching can't, feel what they felt but, this is what they felt my palm. Okay. Watch. Very closely in.
The Palm of my hand look. It's getting taller and taller it's, starting to rise and take form, Audrey. I hope that you're thirsty because it's time for a single malt, scotch. Happy. Birthday again. Thank. You so much Steve, calling, the millionaires, magician. I'm marc levy and the show is chamber, magic. You.