On the back cover of Celebrations of Curious Characters, Steve Martin gushes, “Never in the annals of entertainment has one man … documented so diligently these bizarre and astonishing feats of physical and mental derring-do than the man they call America's scholar of the unusual.” The book pulled a disappearing act and sold out in a flash when its author, Ricky Jay, spoke at the recent L.A. Times Festival of Books. The multitalented magician, writer, actor and historian makes another appearance, this time with his old friend, award-winning playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet. Mamet, who has directed three of Jay's stage shows — On the Stem, A Rogue's Gallery and the Obie Award–winning Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants — has cast him in a number of his films. (You also might recognize Jay from Deadwood, The Simpsons, as a Bond villain or as the voice of the synchronistic intro of Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia.) A year ago, Jay chatted with Mamet as he discussed his own tome, Theatre, at Largo at the Coronet. One good turn deserves another, and “Ricky Jay and David Mamet in Conversation” promises to elucidate the prolific profundity of these longtime collaborators.

Tue., May 31, 7 p.m., 2011

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