Deceptive practice

If you like magic, Deceptive practice: the mysteries and mentors of Ricky Jay is definitely worth checking out. Ricky Jay is one of the most well respected living magicians, a bit of a scholar when it comes to the history of magic, and a frequent consultant on Hollywood films that deal with magic. You may recognize him as an actor from several movies by David Mamet or Paul Thomas Anderson, if you don't remember his frequent appearances on television (he was the youngest magician to perform a full act on TV in 1953).

This documentary covers both Jay's life as a magician and interviews him about others that have influenced him (such as Max Marlini, Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, and Al Flosso). The focus here is mostly on sleight-of-hand and card tricks. For example, Jay had been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being able to throw a playing card 90 miles per hour. We get to see several demonstrations from his acts throughout from both inserted footage of stage and television appearances, as well as those performed just for the film. There's a lot of shots of him shuffling cards (a kind of meditative act for him). If you prefer reading about him, most of the information in the documentary is based on this New Yorker article. Note: this is a DVD-R release (the disc looks blue on the bottom, rather than the usual silver pressed DVD), which means that it may not work on all models of DVD player. This also means that the DVD, unfortunately, does not have any extra features (or even a menu). Despite the presentation, I definitely recommend seeking this out if you are at all interested in the subject. Also, check out the 793.8 nonfiction section for books and videos on magic (there are a lot in the Children's collection).