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August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

Music in August Wilson’s Work

Music was vital to playwright August Wilson (1945 –2005), who as a teenager honed his writing at the same time he discovered blues musicians like Bessie Smith. Wilson said that when he first heard Smith, “The universe stuttered, and everything fell into place.” Learn how composer Kathryn Bostic, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and actor and […]

August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

Biography and Timeline

August Wilson (1945 – 2005) was an award-winning American playwright whose work illuminated the joys and struggles of the African-American experience in the United States during the 20th century. August Wilson’s Childhood Wilson’s rise from humble beginnings to Broadway was unlikely. Born Frederick August Kittel on April 27, 1945, in the Hill District community of […]

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

Art Spiegelman and Ricky Jay in Conversation: Web Exclusive

Cartoonist and author Art Spiegelman (Maus, In the Shadow of No Towers) and sleight-of-hand magician Ricky Jay spoke in conversation at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on the occasion of the exhibition Extraordinary Exhibitions, featuring over 80 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century ephemeral advertising sheets known as broadsides, from Ricky Jay’s own collection. The magical […]

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

Comic: Waiting for Ricky Jay, by Peter Kuper

Cartoonist and illustrator Peter Kuper played a pivotal role in the genesis of the film Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice. Kuper met Ricky Jay after sending him this three-page comic, the result of Kuper’s futile effort to get tickets to Jay’s sold-out show in New York City. Kuper eventually helped connect his friend director Molly Bernstein to […]

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

Ricky Jay’s Magician Mentors and Inspirations

American Master Ricky Jay was introduced to the art of magic and sleight-of-hand by his grandfather, an amateur magician whose master magician friends became Jay’s mentors. “I’ve been really, really, lucky to be around people…and to feel very much part of this ongoing continuum of sleight-of-hand that can be traced back many, many years — […]

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

Filmmaker Interview with Molly Bernstein

When I first saw Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants, in a small theater in Manhattan (1994), I knew nothing about magic and I was astounded to learn this was a whole huge artistic field that is like no other. It is a totally low-tech form of entertainment. It’s a guy sitting at a table […]

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

The New Yorker Profile of Ricky Jay

Launching the series’ 29th season, American Masters — Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice premieres nationwide Friday, January 23, 2015, 9-10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Here is a look back at an in-depth profile in The New Yorker from 1993, when Jay had recently formed his consulting company, Deceptive Practices. “Secrets of the Magus” by […]