actor Ricky Jay features Mr. Jay at his mellifluous, mysterious best -- which should give you some idea of why classy movie-makers from David Mamet to Paul Thomas Anderson to Gus Van Sant have used him in their films. (And not primarily as a prestidigitator.) Mr. Jay, a smart performer and actor, possesses an odd but very effective charisma, which filmmakers Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein put to excellent use in their new documentary DECEPTIVE PRACTICE: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.
Slydini (love that moniker!), Al Flosso (who sounds a bit like the animated character who shows you how to properly clean your teeth) and Cardini (whom Jay notes had "the best act I ever saw"), Jay's primary two mentors were Charlie Miller (an absolute loner, whom, appropriately enough, we learn little of) and Dai Vernon, another mysterious but actor-level handsome fellow of whom we see quite a lot.
Shel Silverstein. And once again, using those words coming from his special voice, we, the audience, create all the images in our own mind.
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay -- from Kino Lorber and running 88 minutes -- opens a two-week run this Wednesday, April 17, in New York City at Film Forum. Over the months of May and June, it will expand into another dozen cities and theaters. Click here (then scroll down) to see all currently scheduled playdates.