Max Maven can stake a claim to the world's most imposing widow's peak, and that's saying something for a fellow involved in the magical arts. Noted for his “bizarre brand of mental magic … achieved through psychological subterfuge,” Angelenos without memberships to the Magic Castle may recognize him from his one-man show, Thinking in Person, which ran at the smartypants Steve Allen Theater. “Sharp” is a word that comes to mind when describing not only Maven's coiffure but his tongue and mind as well. The accomplished mentalist, whose mysteries are said to “transcend linguistic and cultural boundaries,” appears for one night, and one night only, at the Skirball Center to discuss “Jews in Magic,” as part of the museum's current “Masters of Illusion” exhibit, which (along with “Houdini: Art and Magic”) will remain free and open to program attendees until 8 p.m. Why and how did Jewish magicians flourish in not only the late 19th and 20th centuries, but into the present? (Perhaps Maven has asked Jersey-born David “Kotkin” Copperfield, who's grossed more than $1 billion over his career.)

Thu., May 26, 8 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly