Ian Frisch: Magic Is Dead
Where: Books Are Magic
225 Smith St.
718-246-2665 Price: Free
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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 society 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—Chris Ramsay, Laura London, and Daniel Madison—and explore their personal demons, professional aspirations, and what drew them to their art. We join them at private gatherings of the most extraordinary magicians working today, follow them to magic conventions in Las Vegas and London, and discover some of the best tricks of the trade. We also encounter David Blaine, a close friend of Madison’s; hang out with Penn Jillette; and meet Dynamo, the U.K.’s most famous magician. 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 moves away from the old-school take on the craft.
As he tells the story of the52, and his role as its most unlikely member, Ian reveals his own connection with trickery and deceit, how he first learned the elements that make magic work from his poker-playing mother, and recalls their adventures in card rooms and casinos after his father’s sudden death. “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, 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.
Ian Frisch has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, the Washington Post Magazine, Playboy, Longreads,and Vice. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Explanatory Award, and has made numerous appearances on Bloomberg Television. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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