Ricky Jay Online
March 12, 2004 4:16 PM   Subscribe

my motherfucker is so cool, when he goes to bed, sheep count him. i wondered where i knew that guy from. the radio essays are [good].
posted by steef at 5:00 PM on March 12, 2004 [1 favorite]

I remember seeing a show of his on HBO some years back, Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants, and he is absolutely amazing. Jaw droppingly good. Assistants was originally a Broadway show, where distance can hide a lot of clever sleight-of-hand, but that is of no matter to Ricky Jay. Even on television, under a camera's close and unwinking eye, he is able to manipulate a deck of cards like Mozart writing music. One gaudy little stunt: he is able to throw playing cards at a watermelon hard enough to make them stick.

Unfortunately, I've never been able to find the show on video, but if you ever happen to stumble across it, by all means treat yourself to one hell of an impressive performance.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:12 PM on March 12, 2004

The New Yorker profile is flat-out unreal. Awesome. Thanks.
posted by gleuschk at 7:13 PM on March 12, 2004

I second the recommendation for Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants. Well worth checking out.

Several years ago, he did a special based on his book Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women that was notable for featuring Steve Martin doing his "Great Flydini" act.

I'm a Ricky Jay fan from way back, since I bought a copy of Cards As Weapons when I was in high school. I never was able to throw one hard enough to "pierce the pachydermatous outer melon layer" like Jay could with the watermelon, but I sure tried.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:17 PM on March 12, 2004

You're just not using the right cards. Credit cards (or, better, any of those annoying customer cards) will piece gyproc, let alone a melon.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on March 12, 2004

Been a huge fan since the water pistol scene in House Of Games. Just a brilliant guy. Monju comes through again!
posted by anathema at 8:01 PM on March 12, 2004

Hey, MrBadExample, I hope you still have that book — it looks like it might be worth something.
posted by skryche at 8:39 PM on March 12, 2004

Skryche, I've been trying to find my copy for years. I don't have it here, and it's not at my parents' house. I fear it may have ended up going to Goodwill.

I heard a while back that Cards as Weapons was going to be reprinted. Here's hoping.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:58 PM on March 12, 2004

The man deserves a MacArthur genius grant for Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women alone. He is a personal hero. Thanks.
posted by snarkout at 9:06 PM on March 12, 2004

well that new yorker profile was quite a read
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 9:34 PM on March 12, 2004

After reading the New Yorker profile, I'd have to say, "I wish I knew this man."

Is there any greater praise?
posted by Lafe at 11:20 PM on March 12, 2004

Ugh. Books shouldn't be $300, it defeats the purpose of books being meant to be read by as many as possible.

That said, who am I kidding. I'd pay $300 to learn how to puncture fruit with playing cards.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:23 PM on March 12, 2004

I like him. Good looking site, too.
posted by wsg at 12:16 AM on March 13, 2004

Bummer about that book, after reading the article I was planning on getting a copy.
posted by backOfYourMind at 12:41 AM on March 13, 2004

A 'Cards as Weapons' scan is on emule.

It's hilarious.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2004

Jay's Journal is a wonderful book, Fofer, and if you ever get the chance to see him in person, do it. I saw him in his Off-Broadway show ("Ricky Jay: On The Stem", directed (as "52 Assistants" was) by his longtime friend David Mamet) last year, and he not only did jaw-dropping sleight-of-hand, he calculated cube roots while singing old spirituals, gave a grifter's history of Broadway, threw cards into watermelons, gave pickpocketing demonstrations, and did some astounding memory tricks. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I've spent at the theater.
posted by Vidiot at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2004

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