Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

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Postby Ben James » 11/28/12 05:24 PM

Hi,

Could someone let me know if this is available to purchase/download as I am a big fan and over in Australia it does not show at the local movie theater.

Also, to those who have seen the film, would you mind advising of what is composes of. Is it just a straight interview or does it have rare footage/documentary style etc...

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/28/12 05:31 PM

This documentary has not been released yet. It is showing in film festivals and, I assume, hoping to pick up a distributor for an art house release. Eventually it will be released to home video.
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Postby Ben James » 11/28/12 05:36 PM

Thanks Richard.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/13/13 04:46 PM

Deceptive Practice has been picked up by a distributor and is starting to be booked for exhibitions.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/13/13 04:48 PM

Also, here's a Ricky Jay podcast for your listening pleasure.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/13/13 04:52 PM

Looking forward to this.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/13/13 08:39 PM

Kino Lorber's website has a list of bookings, and a press kit. Richard, you'll get to see it come June.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/11/13 01:58 PM

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/11/13 02:26 PM

And if you look closely, you can see my bright shiny face. Except for a grandchild, my life is now complete.
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Postby Evan Shuster » 04/12/13 10:03 AM

Coming to Seattle in May. Looking forward to it!
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Postby Jack Shalom » 04/18/13 09:49 AM

I saw this in October at the Lincoln Center Film Festival. Here's the review I wrote at the time:

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

I saw the world premiere of this documentary tonight at the Lincoln Center Film Festival. In a word: extraordinary. The finest magic documentary I've ever seen.

The directors, Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein treat the art of magic with such loving care and respect. It was a joy from beginning to end. The film was twelve years in the making, and the directors have put together a wonderful collection of interviews, photos, and biographical footage of Ricky Jay. There are photos and footage here you've surely not seen elsewhere--the nine year old Ricky performing professionally dressed in a tuxedo producing guinea pigs, the slightly older Ricky in a red toreador suit producing doves.

The through line of the film is the set of the mentors who Ricky Jay sought out and with whom he was otherwise blessed. His first one was his grandfather, Max Katz, a CPA who was an enthusiastic amateur practitioner of many arcane arts, but particularly of magic. And Katz learned his magic, the same way he learned his checkers, cryptography and other skills--by learning from the best. So Katz took lessons and made friends with Slydini, Al Flosso, Francis Carlyle, and Cardini among others. The young Ricky got to meet all of them and learn from all of them. And here is where the filmmakers really shine--they have found archival material on the aforementioned magicians that is really terrific. Together with Ricky's memories of each of these mentors, they present a portrait of the state of the art of magic in the fifties and sixties.

Later on, Ricky talks about his estrangement from his parents and his heading out West to study with Vernon and Charlie Miller. Again, great stories and great archival material on Vernon and Miller. And then Ricky goes on to talk about Vernon's heroes, Malini and Leipzig, and there's a wonderful segment with a British journalist who is gobsmacked when the reluctant interviewee Jay finally sits down with her in an out of the way diner, tells her he's sorry for having been such a cantankerous, difficult subject, and as he tells her about his hero Malini, he moves aside his menu and on the table appears a huge block of ice...She says that experience changed her life, to be the recipient of such a carefully thought about piece of art...And she checked under the table, there was no puddle of water on that sweltering hot day...

I don't know what muggles may think, but I know that those with any interest in magic will love this film. I really hope this is picked up and becomes available for wider showing, or at least becomes available on DVD. At the Lincoln Center showing tonight, the filmmakers spoke afterwards, and Ricky Jay was there, sitting two rows in front of me, and graciously joined the panel to answer questions. He said that he was amazed by some of the footage that was found by the filmmakers, they had found material that Ricky didn't know existed. And if Ricky Jay didn't know about it, then my guess is that up until now just about no one else did either.

One last note. The evening ended with someone in the audience asking Jay if it was strange to watch himself as the subject of a documentary. And he said--some of it was hard because--and here he started to choke up--he couldn't believe that he would never see his mentors again, he couldn't believe that no one would ever see Vernon or Miller perform sleight of hand again. It was very moving, and the audience gave the visibly affected Jay and the filmmakers a standing ovation.
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Postby MaxNY » 04/18/13 03:58 PM

This will be at the Film Forum in NYC for the next two weeks. He will be there in person Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights ( April18, 19 20) at the 8:10 showing. I will be going Saturday night. see you there.
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Postby MaxNY » 04/19/13 12:27 AM

I have an extra ticket to Saturday night's show. The first person to PM me and say the password "Pick me Monte" gets to sit next to me, and see the incredible Potash in person.
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Postby Chas Nigh » 04/19/13 05:51 PM

Rotten Tomatoes showed 95% positive reviews.
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Postby MaxNY » 04/20/13 12:28 AM

New York Post gives it 3 stars...I still have an extra tix to tomorrow night's show. First to PM me gets it.

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/m ... crA8I1hveM
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Postby Gary Brown » 04/20/13 02:01 AM

Hello all,

I had the great good fortune to attend the NYC debut showing of this film, and it's really worthwhile. Deceptive Practice is a thoroughly researched and exquisitely produced documentary of one our greatest magicians, and the rich tradition and history behind his career. Over the next few months, it will be playing in various theaters across the country. If it comes anywhere near you, make an effort to see it. The sterling reviews are welll deserved. Anyone interested in magic, history, performing, and artistry should not miss this one. Find out more details here:

http://www.rickyjaymovie.com/

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Postby Steve Bryant » 04/20/13 11:28 AM

Roger Ebert -- himself -- gives it three stars. And raises a mystery: under what name did Ricky contribute an article to a magazine by Roger? (Check rogerebert.com.)
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/20/13 09:00 PM

Steve Bryant wrote: And raises a mystery: under what name did Ricky contribute an article to a magazine by Roger?

The same mystery was related here; the account makes me suspect the name was Potash.
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Postby erdnasephile » 04/20/13 09:28 PM

Bill Mullins wrote:
Steve Bryant wrote: And raises a mystery: under what name did Ricky contribute an article to a magazine by Roger?

The same mystery was related here; the account makes me suspect the name was Potash.


On an unrelated note: isn't that trick that Ebert described based on one of Max Maven's routines?
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Postby Steve Bryant » 04/20/13 11:32 PM

I've been reading through the Ebert autobiography. The magazine must have been the Champaign-Urbana Spectator, a liberal magazine Roger started his freshman year because he thought the school paper, The Daily illimi, was too right-wing. He produced it from his family basement. He later sold it for $200 and went to work for The Daily Illini at the start of his sophomore year. Now, what would attract a young incognito Ricky Jay to its pages? I don't mean that in a political point of view sense, but only in the sense of how such a small-time product might attract anyone. A couple of years late I attended the university and never heard of the magazine.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/21/13 12:38 AM

I wonder if it might be something else, perhaps from Ebert's years in grad school? He did the Spectator ca. 1962. I believe Ricky Jay was about 14 then. I'm sure Jay was well-read even then, but for freshman in high school to even be aware of the paper of a college 800 miles away seems very unlikely.

Is Ricky Jay a science fiction fan? Ebert published a couple of fanzines at one point.
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Postby MaxNY » 04/21/13 01:54 AM

I saw the movie tonight, and loved it. The theatre was packed, many of the old clips made the audience chuckle. I was asked if i could help provide footage for this movie over 7 years ago. A colleague asked me to meet with a guy about a movie that was being made on Ricky jay. We spoke, I told him I had one of the largest collections of magicians on tape, in broadcast quality...but I didn't own the rights to any of it...and that was about all we really had to discuss. Today I called that colleague to join me at this movie, and she reminded me that she set up my meeting with Producer/Director Alan Edelstein over 7 years ago! I love small World stories. It was in conversation with Alan after, I heard that he has been working on this since 1998!

I love Documentaries, and probably have seen more than my share. I just loved this movie, as did everyone else in the theatre tonight. Don't expect to see any new card slights from Mr Jay, unless you count the constant close-ups of him shuffling, used as a common thread, and transition between stories. Expect to see rare footage of the greats, stuff I don't even own.

There was no mention of Doug Henning. I was too embarrassed to ask why not during the Q&A, but wasn't afraid to ask both Producers in the Subway afterwards. I don't think I got a straight answer. I understand the movie was about Ricky, and his mentors, but I'm always fascinated by the hop from a nobody, to stardom, and always thought Ricky's guest performance on the earliest Doug Henning Specials catapulted him into stardom. I guess Doug wasn't even worth mentioning in this story.

There was a small part dedicated to Michael Weber, and we all got to see just how magic gets passed down from teacher to student, and then student to teacher!

The Steve Martin footage kills. It reminded me just why this country went gaga over this guy 35 years ago. He was damn funny!

The ending was a touching poem written by Sheldon Silver, just for Ricky Jay! Brilliant!

The Q&A was wonderful. There were a few things revealed, that I will share here. Ricky has never cataloged his own library. When the Producers were asked about "Secrecy" Molly Bernstein said that she only received Ricky's cell phone number just about a month ago!


When asked if he had any other shows in the works, he said that he has had three shows, and that one of them, has never been to New York....encouraging applause from the crowd.


In the lobby after the Q&A, I reacquainted myself with Alan. I told him about the footage I posted (You-Tube) from the Meyer Silberstein Summer party. This party was held every Summer, Ricky said in the movie it was his first performance, (not the year of my offering, but if you haven't seen it yet, check it out as there are performances of Vernon, Flosso, Blackstone and others.) Alan also said that keep checking the website, as posters may go up for sale soon, and that a DVD is in the works!
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Postby kevinm » 04/21/13 11:19 AM

That was me who asked the question re: if he (Ricky) was planning any new or live performances. Happy that his answer was, somewhat, in the affirmative.

Movie was great, and hope to see it again, before it leaves NYC for others to enjoy.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 04/21/13 11:36 AM

Thanks, Bill. I wasn't aware of Ebert's fanzines. At least one was called Stymie, and you can read about it here:

http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0501/thou ... ents.shtml

This is a more likely zine for Ricky to have contributed to.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/21/13 05:20 PM

Steve Bryant wrote:Thanks, Bill. I wasn't aware of Ebert's fanzines. At least one was called Stymie, and you can read about it here:

http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0501/thou ... ents.shtml

This is a more likely zine for Ricky to have contributed to.


Stymie was even earlier. It looks to have been 1960-61.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/23/13 05:06 PM

While you wait for Deceptive Practice to come to a Theater Near You, here is Ricky Jay singing Neil Sedaka's "Calendar Girl."
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 04/27/13 12:57 AM

Jay was on David Letterman this evening to promote his film. The interview went over well with discussions of the Professor and Charlie Miller. Letterman played a black and white clip of the Coney Island Fakir performing the Miser's Dream for Ed Sullivan on Sullivan's show in 1960.

Jay had Letterman peek at a card and allowed him to shuffle the deck. Jay then openly upjogged and removed four cards, one of which was the selection. I thought he was going to segue to the Dunbury Delusion but it ended nicely with a transformation of the other three cards into the mates of the selection.
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Postby erdnasephile » 04/27/13 03:04 AM

Leonard Hevia wrote:....Jay had Letterman peek at a card and allowed him to shuffle the deck. Jay then openly upjogged and removed four cards, one of which was the selection. I thought he was going to segue to the Dunbury Delusion but it ended nicely with a transformation of the other three cards into the mates of the selection.


Was it Harry Lorayne's "Foursome"?

(It would have been interesting to see how Letterman would have reacted to the Dunbury Delusion trick.)
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 04/27/13 09:53 AM

Yeah, pretty much the Foursome ending without the Biddle Count. Just a smooth turnover of the four cards on top of the deck.

It is interesting that you mentioned Letterman's reaction to the Dunbury Delusion. Jason Randal performed this for Letterman a number of years ago. Letterman was supposed to see his selection already dealt on the table but missed it. As you know, in this effect the spectator has to see his own face up card on the table in order to believe that the magician failed.

The trick went awry and Randal had to point out to Letterman that he had missed seeing his card. You have to let the audience "catch" you before turning the hose on the them.
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Postby Gene B » 04/27/13 06:44 PM

There was an interesting moment where Dave claims he didn't want to stop on that card "Claims it was forced" Ricky went further and then immediately handed the cards for Dave to shuffle.

This was different from "Fousome" in that regard.

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Postby Jim Martin » 04/27/13 08:56 PM

Exactly. Ricky handing the cards to Dave immediately after Dave peeked at the card was a great touch.

For those who haven't seen the 'Deceptive' trailer and read the press kit, here is the link:

http://www.rickyjaymovie.com/
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Postby erdnasephile » 04/27/13 09:02 PM

Gene B wrote:There was an interesting moment where Dave claims he didn't want to stop on that card "Claims it was forced" Ricky went further and then immediately handed the cards for Dave to shuffle.

This was different from "Fousome" in that regard.

GB


Obviously, Jay is a pro and has handled situations like this many times in the past. Letterman was no real threat to him.

However, this sort of thing is why I don't really care for Letterman as a host when a magician is the guest. (Although, to be fair he did pretty well during the Jay interview and during close-up magic week a while back).

IMHO, out of the current crop, Craig Ferguson is the best host for magicians.

Still, Johnny was the undisputed king! :mrgreen:
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Postby Doug Thornton » 04/27/13 09:42 PM

Here's the interview via YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NYS6MVn79Y
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Postby Doug Thornton » 04/27/13 10:51 PM

Hey gang, I rewatched this and somehow the clip of Al Flosso with Ed Sullivan was cut, I'm guessing for copyright reasons. It's still a fine interview; Letterman, despite his wiseguy interruption, was very respectful and appreciative of the film. Ricky Jay commanded with his magic and got some fun laughs. And kudos to the camera work - the director was spot on, might even have had a rehearsal.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 04/27/13 11:43 PM

Fooling around with this led to finding the second Doug Henning special that featured a young hip Ricky Jay, shown here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAOcEjDdkFg
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Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 05/01/13 04:33 AM

On the "Late Show" I found his answers very insightful and his reserve in not slamming "illusion" (a practice all too often employed) refreshing, coming as it did from a talent as unique and wonderful as Ricky Jay. I beg to differ on one point. I knew Charlie Miller and Dai Vernon (Charlie better than Vernon, only because I was gymnast and Charle loved acrobats). Ricky is as important to me, as an inspiration, as they were to him. He bridges the generation gap that keeps their flame alive and ignites a few of his own.

I saw a reference to a May screening in Los Angeles. Any new info on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/01/13 04:31 PM

Upcoming screenings:

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema Atlanta GA May 3-9, 2013
Landmark Varsity Theatre Seattle WA May 3-9, 2013
Landmark Nuart Theatre Los Angeles CA May 17-23, 2013
Time & Space Limited Hudson NY May 17-19, May 23-26
Landmark Ken Cinema San Diego CA May 24-30, 2013
Landmark Esquire Theatre Denver CO May 24-30, 2013
Landmark Ritz at the Bourse Philadelphia PA May 24-30, 2013
Harkins Valley Art Tempe AZ May 31 - June 6, 2013
Landmark Kendall Square Cinema Boston MA May 31 - June 6, 2013
Landmark Lagoon Cinema Minneapolis MN May 31 - June 6, 2013
Magic Lantern Theatre Spokane WA May 31 - June 6, 2013
Real Art Ways Hartford CT June 7-13, 2013
Tallahassee Film Society AL June 21-23, 2013
Landmark Shattuck Cinemas Berkeley CA June 28 - July 4, 2013
Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema San Francisco CA June 28 - July 4, 2013
Camera Cinemas San Jose CA June 28 - July 4, 2013
Landmark E Street Cinema Washington DC June 28 - July 4, 2013
Guild Cinema Albuquerque NM July 10-12, 2013
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Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 05/02/13 02:42 AM

Thanks Bill.
The Landmark Nuart, is one of my favorite theaters!
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Postby Edward Pungot » 05/07/13 03:42 PM

Not sure how kosher this is, but it sure wets my appetite.





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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/07/13 03:53 PM

They appear to be publicly posted on YouTube so it's fine to embed them here (and a good idea, too!).
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