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Magic is Dead Reading and Deceptive Practice Film Screening

Rough Draft's visiting writer for the month of May is journalist Ian Frisch! Join him for a reading of his new book, Magic Is Dead, followed by a Q&A moderated by Sari Botton of the Kingston Writer's Studio.

Following the reading and signing, we'll have a special screening of the film Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay. The film traces the story of author, actor, and magician Ricky Jay along with his two mentors, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. The movie's score was composed by friends and neighbors of Rough Draft, Clare and Olivier Manchon!

About Magic Is Dead:

In the vein of Neil Strauss’ The Game and Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein comes the fascinating story of one man’s colorful, mysterious, and personal journey into the world of magic, and his unlikely invitation into an underground secret society of revolutionary magicians from around the world.

Magic Is Dead is Ian Frisch’s head-first dive into a hidden world full of extraordinary characters and highly guarded secrets. It is a story of imagination, deception, and art that spotlights today’s most brilliant young magicians—a mysterious club known as the52, who are revolutionizing an ancient artform under the mantra Magic Is Dead.

Ian brings us with him as he not only gets to know this fascinating world, but also becomes an integral part of it. We meet the52’s founding members—Laura London, Daniel Madison, and Chris Ramsay—and explore their personal demons, professional aspirations, and what drew them to their craft. We join them at private gatherings of the most extraordinary magicians working today, follow them to magic conventions in Las Vegas and England, and discover some of the best tricks of the trade. We also encounter David Blaine; hang out with Penn Jillette; meet Dynamo, the U.K.’s most famous magician; and go behind the scenes of a Netflix magic show. Magic Is Dead is also a chronicle of magic’s rich history and how it has changed in the internet age, as the young guns embrace social media and move away from the old-school take on the craft.

“Magic—the romanticism of the inexplicable, the awe and admiration of the unexpected—is an underlying force in how we view the world and its myriad possibilities,” Ian writes. As his journey continues, Ian not only becomes a performer and creator of magic—even fooling the late Anthony Bourdain during a chance encounter—he also cements a new brotherhood, and begins to understand his relationship with his father, fifteen years after his death. Written with psychological acuity and a keen eye for detail, Magic Is Dead is an engrossing tale full of wonder and surprise.


This event is part of the Rough Draft Writer's Retreat, designed to bring new voices to the Kingston community for monthly readings and discussion. The reading is free with food, drink, or book purchase, and Ian's book is 10% off now through May 8. Please note, not all content or language may be suitable for all ages.

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