Ricky Jay Is The Greatest Living Magician

A couple days ago, I mentioned how much I enjoy and respect illusionists. What I didn't mention at the time is my favourite illusionist, Ricky Jay. Probably the greatest illusionist working today, certainly the best slight-of-hand artist, he isn't flashy or crass. His act harkens back to the Victorian showman, a loquacious gentleman telling stories and performing feats damaging to delicate sensibilities. His voice is as powerful as his hands are talented, hypnotic to listen to while the cards do his bidding.

An expert in his field, he was worked with the Encyclopedia Britannica to define the terminology of prestidigitation, and his consulting firm Deceptive Practise has provided "Arcane Knowledge on a Need to Know Basis" to just about every movie having to do with magicians and illusions and card sharks for years. Jay is also an accomplished author and actor, having appeared in a recurring (and non magic role) in Deadwood, as a Bond villain in Tomorrow Never Dies, and a host of others. Friends with David Mamet, who directed all three of Jay's one man shows (and if you haven't seen His 52 Assistants, then you haven't experienced true wonder, and certainly can't find it here), and folk like Steve Martin.

A documentary, Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, the result of decades of work, is getting limited releases after impressing audiences at the New York Film Festival last year. It not only tracks Jay's career, but also those of the magicians and illusionists who inspired him, mentored him, and transitioned prestidigitation into the twentieth century.

And I so very badly want to see it. For more information about the film, and the current release schedule, check out the film's site.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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