You’ve probably never heard of Lewis Cohen. That’s not surprising, considering he was born over 200 years ago. Cohen was the first person to make lead pencils in America, and he invented a four-color printing process that revolutionized the manufacture of playing cards in the late 1830’s.
A son and two nephews of Lewis Cohen merged their respective playing card companies in 1871 and became the Consolidated Card Company. Calling themselves the New York Consolidated Card Co. a few years later, the group became a leading producer of playing cards in a very short period of time. Continue Reading
Back in high school I was serious about playing the piano. I practiced every day and
I took on extra-difficult pieces like Chopin’s “Fantasie-Impromptu” and Jack Fina’s
I performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for the big Senior Concerto concert. All my classmates and family showed up to hear me. I was playing by memory, and ten minutes into the piece…my mind went totally blank. I had to stop the show, stop the band, apologize, walk off stage, get my sheet music, walk back on, and finish. I was so embarrassed. Just crushed.
Most performers—myself definitely included—get nervous from time to time. And realizing that everybody gets stage fright is the first step to moving past it.
The second step is messing up. Just as it’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay to mess up, too. When I perform a trick for the first time, I just assume I’ll mess it up. I look at my first five performances as disasters through which I have to wade. If one of those performances hits, well, it’s a bonus.
I don’t do these first five performances for just anyone; I do them for trusted friends and fellow magicians—people in front of whom I feel comfortable messing up.
David Copperfield recommends beating stage fright by growing your audience little by little. Start small and work your way up.
“Begin with small groups,” he advises. “Many performances for many small groups, and then you work up gradually.”
If you follow Copperfield’s tip, the third step will come automatically: Let confidence come to you. It doesn’t happen overnight; but it does happen inevitably. When you perform a trick 100 times, you can’t help but grow confident. Doesn’t matter if you’re performing in front of a TV camera or in front of a 500-person audience. Eventually you’ll get used to it; eventually, you’ll relax a little.
Want to squash stage right? Then go perform. Right now.
The 1st time will be scary, the 10th will be stressful, the 20th will be okay, the 50th will be smooth, and the 100th will be amazing.2 comments
There have been a handful of movies over the past decade that feature magic in a prominent role. The Illusionist and The Prestige were released a few years ago, and this year we get The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Now You See Me. But you may not know that virtually all movies owe a little something to the world of magic.
Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, better known as simply Georges Méliès, was born in Paris in 1861.
As a young man he worked for his father in the shoe business. In London in 1884, the young Méliès discovered Egyptian Hall, the magic theater run by John Nevil Maskelyne and George Cooke. There, Méliès saw the most incredible illusions of the late 19th century. The effect on him was profound and he ultimately made magic his profession. Continue Reading1 comment
Eleven Madison Park has been ranked #5 on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants.
Since early 2012, theory11 and Eleven Madison Park have been working together to make a little magic happen in New York City. Our unique collaboration has been featured in The New York Times and New Yorker Magazine. The reception has been extraordinary.
As San Pellegrino put it, ‘Card tricks at the table, but the real magic is in the food.’ There’s no doubt that both magic and the menu make a winning combination for international recognition.
If you’re in NYC, plan a visit to Eleven Madison Park and enjoy a table side routine performed with Silver Monarchs. Inspired by three card monte card scams on the streets of New York City, the presentation adds a tasteful (pun intended) surprise to an already unrivaled dining experience.
Artisan Playing Cards are featured in the latest issue of Departures Magazine!
Departures “Necessary Luxuries” section chronicles luxury items celebrities cannot live without. In this issue, they interviewed David Copperfield. One of Copperfield’s “necessary luxuries” was our Artisan Playing Cards, which Copperfield tagged “the best playing cards ever produced.”
The article features an awesome picture by James Wojcik of a house of cards. Artisans are back in stock and available for immediate shipping at theory11.
Editor’s Note: This article is the eleventh in a weekly series by Jason England: MYSTERIUM. Each article will be posted on Wednesday at 11:00am EST – every post on a different subject. This week, Jason discusses which games are the best in a casino, with the odds the most in your favor.
Mysterium – The Best Game in Town
To date, I’ve filmed 24 training videos on card cheat techniques – false shuffles, card controls, and the like. These videos are produced for entertainment purposes only. To win in a REAL casino, fair and square, you need to beat the odds – and that starts with choosing which game to play. In this article, I’ll review which games are the best, with the odds the most in your favor.
Living in Las Vegas, people frequently ask me, “What’s the best game to play in the casino?” To the vast majority of people I simply reply, “Blackjack”.
It’s not that I don’t want to take the time to explain the real answer; it’s just that most people are asking what they perceive to be a simple question and so I don’t disappoint them – I give them a simple answer. Continue Reading1 comment
Imagine being able to identify the color of face down cards. In the spectator’s hands. After the deck is cut – and shuffled. From a NORMAL deck of cards.
Based on a concept originally published in 1958. A spectator holds 10 cards face down in their hand. You’ve never seen the cards, yet you can identify the color of each one with COMPLETE accuracy. EVERY time. It seems impossible – but it’s simple to learn and extremely powerful.
Watch the trailer. Now available for immediate download.
Originally published in 1897, the Herrmann Pass is a technique for secretly transposing two halves of a deck in order to control a card (or cards) to the top or bottom of the deck.
Jason England, one of the industry’s leading card mechanics, goes over extreme detail to cover nearly every aspect and nuance of the move and it’s history.
This is a move that’s both versatile and invisible. Trust me, it’s something you’re gonna want to learn!
See Details: The Herrmann Pass with Jason England
Last year, we did a first annual theory11 scholarship to Tannen’s Magic Camp. The experience at camp is amazing – with one full week of non-stop magic guided by the best in the business, right outside of New York City and Philadelphia.
This year, the theory11 scholarship starts now. What’s up for grabs? Free registration to the camp – a value of over $1,300! To enter, just fill out the entry form HERE. One winner will be selected and chosen to receive camp registration, free of charge.
You have four weeks to enter, ending May 1st at 11:00am EST.
Editor’s Note: This article is the tenth in a weekly series by Jason England: MYSTERIUM. Each article in this series will be posted on Wednesday at 11:00am EST – every post on a different subject. This week, Jason discusses the merit of using a script during a magic performance.
The Words We Use
There is debate in the magic world about whether or not a performer should work from a script or whether it’s sufficient to decide what you’re going to say in the moment (and perhaps make changes from one show to another). My own opinion is this: I believe in scripts for the vast majority of situations, but don’t necessarily have a problem with working from only an outline in informal performances. Let me explain. Continue Reading4 comments