His new book is Dice: Deception, Fate & Rotten Luck. It's a collection of essays about the history of dice and the many ways of cheating at the game. The New York Times says of Jay, "He's a master's master." His other books include Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and Jay's Journal of Anomalies. He's appeared in a number of David Mamet films and his one-man shows include Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants and Ricky Jay: On the Stem.
Magician and juggler Penn Jillette. He's one half of the comedy team of Penn and Teller. They are to traditional magic what the Rolling Stones are to the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Penn and Teller revel in making fun of traditional magicians, whom they characterize as sleazy lounge performers. Their hit Broadway show was a mix of rock and roll, insults, self-injury and baffling illusions. When David Letterman invited Penn and Teller to "Late Night," the pair made hundreds of hissing cockroaches appear on Dave's desk.
Jillette, along with his silent partner Teller, created his magic act partly in opposition to the comedy and theater performances he disliked. His duo's edgy, sometimes violent, performances have won Emmy Awards and spawned companion books and videos. Jillette takes pride in maintaining an aggressive persona while treating his audience with respect.
Ricky Jay, one of the world's great sleight-of-hand artists, a scholar of the unusual, curator of the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts, an actor and author of Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women.
Penn Jillette is half of the duo Penn & Teller, who bring a new, irreverent spin to magic shows. Well-versed in the traditions of the art, they aim to break old, familiar rules and conventions -- sometimes to the point of angering other magicians
Historian Erik Barnouw's new book looks into how the dawn of trick cinema and depictions of magic in films undermined the popularity of live magic shows. He later talks to Terry Gross about the pressure television broadcasters experience from boycotts and sponsors to highlight or remove certain kinds of content.