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What If Assassins Are Chasing You And All You Have Is A Deck Of Cards?
June 17, 2010 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Ricky Jay's legendary book, "Cards As Weapons," is out of print. Used copies are expensive. Luckily, you can read it here. (The book contains some NSFW content.) I've you're new to Ricky Jay, start here.
posted by grumblebee (39 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite

 
See part of his MythBusters appearance here.
posted by Catblack at 4:48 PM on June 17, 2010


It's kind of sad that the range of "the greatest living card thrower" appears to be approximately 4 feet.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:52 PM on June 17, 2010


Ricky Jay is one of the all time, world class greats. He also hates David Copperfield, but you'd have to read a pretty long article to find out why...
posted by Catblack at 4:55 PM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Or you could start here.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:02 PM on June 17, 2010


I thought this was a duplicate post!
posted by Catblack at 5:03 PM on June 17, 2010


Click-click-click-click. The favoriting... it only works once. Alas. :(
posted by basicchannel at 5:06 PM on June 17, 2010


Hmm.. perhaps some books ought to be out of print and remain inaccessible, to retain their legendary status.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:11 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women is another great Ricky Jay book, also out of print.

And someone has to mention his appearances in David Mamet films, of which my favorite is still House of Games.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:31 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


David Mamet films, of which my favorite is still House of Games

House of Games is great, but don't overlook Mamet's Lost Masterpieces of Pornography, also with Mr. Jay.
posted by spasm at 5:46 PM on June 17, 2010


Also, in addition to acting in "Deadwood," he also wrote the script to one of the episodes.
posted by grumblebee at 5:50 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bought this book when I was about 13 years old while I was on a trip with my parents to Cambridge - got it at one of those great big bookstores that used to be in Harvard Sq. but are no more. I remember displaying the cover to my parents, and showing them a few of the inside pages, but in a completely improvised sleight of hand, completely obscuring the more "revealing" lessons.

Sex and weapons that a kid could learn to use - the combination was irresistible and me and my best friend became card throwing ninjas.

Still have the book, though it's in dog-eared condition, and not much of a collector's find. I also have a large poster of the cover that I got Ricky Jay to sign when I saw him perform his act a couple of years later.

Not such a big fan these days, but I'll always have a fond spot for Mr. Jay because of that book.
posted by bonsai forest at 5:56 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I thought this was a duplicate post!"

It was actually a single post before Ricky Jay split it down the middle.
posted by Eideteker at 5:56 PM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jay had a great Random Roles at the A.V. Club. Ever wonder why his character in Tomorrow Never Dies is given so little to do?
At one point, they wanted me to throw cards as weapons to attack Bond, but the first time they asked me to do it in rehearsal, I was an enormously long distance away from Pierce Brosnan, and I warned them that the cards went very, very hard and fast, and they said no no, they had someone in front of it to block the shot, and I again said, “I don’t think you should do that,” they said, “No, no, it’ll be okay.” And Pierce seemed to be fine with it. So I whaled a card, I don’t know how, 50 or 75 feet away, and they said, “Just throw it at his face,” and I hit him right above the eye, and realized that I almost ruined the most lucrative franchise in the history of film. Suddenly that scene was no longer in the movie.
posted by Iridic at 6:18 PM on June 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


See, I like Ricky Jay cause he's basically a comic book character who managed to actually exist as a real person. I enjoy that.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 PM on June 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Whelk is right--hell, he was even in Mystery Men, which in my book is equivalent to saying that you've been in the Acts of the Apostles (and have the video to prove it).
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 PM on June 17, 2010


Ricky Jay is incredible. TheWhelk pretty much sums it up above, he lives the life I wish I lived.
posted by Sphinx at 7:08 PM on June 17, 2010


He also hates David Copperfield, but you'd have to read a pretty long article to find out why...
Deborah Baron, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, where Jay lives, once invited him to a New Year's Eve dinner party at her home. About a dozen other people attended. Well past midnight, everyone gathered around a coffee table as Jay, at Baron's request, did closeup card magic. When he had performed several daz- zling illusions and seemed ready to retire, a guest named Mort said, "Come on, Ricky. Why don't you do something truly amazing?"

Baron recalls that at that moment "the look in Ricky's eyes was, like, `Mort- you have just fucked with the wrong person.' "

Jay told Mort to name a card, any card. Mort said, "The three of hearts." After shuffling, Jay gripped the deck in the palm of his right hand and sprung it, cascading all fifty-two cards so that they travelled the length of the table and pelted an open wine bottle.

"O.K., Mort, what was your card again?"

"The three of hearts."

"Look inside the bottle."

Mort discovered, curled inside the neck, the three of hearts. The party broke up immediately.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:30 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate to be That Guy, but I don't have a Facebook account, so I can't download the PDF from Scribd. Is there another way to download it?
posted by Mikey-San at 7:33 PM on June 17, 2010


Here's where I confess my man crush on Ricky Jay.

There. I said it.
posted by jquinby at 7:51 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mikey-San: Sign in with buggy92/bugmenot, courtesy of Bug Me Not.
posted by niles at 8:38 PM on June 17, 2010


So, I just flipped through and looked at the pictures. Does he explain why you have to be a naked lady in order to master the "Jay Throw"?
posted by jeanmari at 8:47 PM on June 17, 2010


He's not going to be happy about this pirated copy of his book floating around, and I don't think it's a good idea to post a link to it.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:06 PM on June 17, 2010


Thanks for the bugmenot, niles.

I wonder why this isn't in print anymore. Mentioned briefly here.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:13 PM on June 17, 2010


This book legendary. Thanks!
posted by clarknova at 9:48 PM on June 17, 2010


He's not going to be happy about this pirated copy of his book floating around, and I don't think it's a good idea to post a link to it.

Authors make nothing on the resale market. If he cared enough it would be in print.
posted by clarknova at 9:51 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I shared an elevator ride with him a few years back in downtown LA. He seemed like a nice enough guy, thanked me for holding the elevator so he could hop on. It was just the two of us. At the time, all I knew was "hey, it's that one guy from Heist". I thought better than to say "you were good in Heist" (figuring he'd probably done a lot more in life, and who wants to be bothered at every menial point in the day?) and when we walked out the front door of the building together, he just said "you have a nice a day now".

If I knew then what I know now, I would've fucked it all up by being too frozen solid to hold that elevator door open. Not that it matters, I s'pose, he probably knows some ancient secret about elevator door timing.
posted by revmitcz at 10:01 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


read a pretty long article to find out why..

Every time someone links to that I end up reading the whole thing. Here is the cleaner pdf.

Regarding intellectual property, there is this:

“A guy comes up and starts telling me he’s a fan,” he recalls. “I say thank you, that’s nice to hear. He says he used to see me perform in Boulder, Colorado. That’s nice, too, I say. Then he starts talking about this wonderful piece I did with a mechanical monkey—really one of the most bizarre routines I ever worked out—and I thank him, and he says, ‘Yeah, I get a tremendous response when I do that. Audiences just love it.’ And I say, ‘Let me ask you something. Suppose I invite you over to my house for dinner. We have a pleasant meal, we talk about magic, it’s an enjoyable evening. Then, as you’re about to leave, you walk into my living room and you pick up my television and walk out with it. You steal my television set. Would you do that?’ He says, ‘Of course not.’ And I say, ‘But you already did.’ He says, ‘What are you talking about?’ I say, ‘You stole my television!’ He says, ‘How can you say that? I’ve never even been to your house.’ This guy doesn’t even know what a metaphor is.
posted by mecran01 at 10:53 PM on June 17, 2010


It's kind of sad that the range of "the greatest living card thrower" appears to be approximately 4 feet.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:52 PM on June 17 [+] [!]


That is the sound of one butt-cheek flapping.
posted by mecran01 at 11:00 PM on June 17, 2010


@Mikey-San

bug me not

posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:05 PM on June 17, 2010


Thanks, this is terrific.

(Through the link of links I came upon this terrfic version of the "cups and balls" from his show, Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants. The New Yorker piece that's referred to further upthread came out a month or so before the show and primed the pump beautifully, as it were. It is/was a terrific show. Great magic, exceptionally great patter.)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:26 AM on June 18, 2010


3 things:

1. I don't have a facebook account either...can someone hook me up. MeMail me please if you can...and we'll go from there.
2. This is on my ebay wishlist. I haven't bought it because I have been reluctant to pay triple figures for a book.
3. You guys are TOTALLY forgetting how he was in the X-Files. He turned his head completely around on the Santa Monica Pier.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:45 AM on June 18, 2010


So, I just flipped through and looked at the pictures. Does he explain why you have to be a naked lady in order to master the "Jay Throw"?

Best way to distract an opponent. Plus, she's better looking than a UNIX sysadmin.
posted by codswallop at 3:21 AM on June 18, 2010


Thanks for posting this. Jay just seems like one of those all around awesome people.
posted by drezdn at 6:27 AM on June 18, 2010


Authors make nothing on the resale market. If he cared enough it would be in print.

If you read the BoingBoing link, you'd notice that it appears Jay himself chooses to not have the book reprinted. And if he owns the rights to it as opposed to his publisher, that's completely his right, no matter what phase of The Great Internet Entitlement we live in. If you "cared enough" you would drop the shit and say you want the damn book and don't care what the author thinks at all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:05 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once asked Mamet whether Jay had ever shared with him details of his
childhood.
Mamet replied, “I can’t remember.”
I said, “You can’t remember whether you discussed it or you can’t remember
the details?”
He said, “I can’t remember whether or not I know a better way to dissuade
you from your reiteration of that question without seeming impolite.”


Man, I love both of those guys.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:27 AM on June 18, 2010


I played cards with Ricky after watching him do a live "Cards as Weapons" show during college "Casino Night" in the '80-'81 time frame.

Okay, maybe "played cards with" is not entirely correct. More like, "was left scratching my head at the card table after sitting down to purportedly play poker with Jay and 4-5 other guys."

He cut & shuffled the deck, and then casually dealt one of the people at the table a royal flush. Throwing a card from the stage to the back of the auditorium was pretty damn cool. He threw one into (through) a watermelon as well.
posted by VicNebulous at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2010


You don't need a facebook account. Just bypass the 3-4 false prompt screens and say "no thanks" and you'll eventually reach a download link.
posted by mecran01 at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2010


XQUZYPHYR, he's actively tried to stop distribution of PDFs of this book, too. He definitely cares.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2010


If you "cared enough" you would drop the shit and say you want the damn book and don't care what the author thinks at all

Hey that's true too. But I don't really care enough.
posted by clarknova at 7:46 PM on June 19, 2010


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