Remembering Ricky Jay

By | 2019-04-20T11:43:05-07:00 November 26th, 2018|
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He was two names in one.

Not Rick, Richard, or Ricardo. Neither Ricky nor Jay, but Ricky Jay.

Rick—ee. J—ay.

Ricky Jay.

He was fluent in Mamet speak: ready to do the thing, because he said he would do the thing; the thing he talked about, which was his thing; that this thing—everything was secondary to the thing—was why he did things, because he was a man; and men have been doing things since the thing began.

He was also Jamesian in his speech, a man for whom words like thaumaturgist, prestidigitation legerdemain, and encomia were part of his argot. It was the patois of his performance in which he was a monologist with a repertoire of stories: a raconteur who spun yarns about masters from Mitteleuropa, possessors of the bestiarum vocabulum, oversized illustrations of griffins, basilisks, dragons, and unicorns.

He was a carnival barker, too, luring parents and children alike with tales of wonder. He was a vintner of dandelion wine—with a spritz of seltzer—who smoked maduro cigars shaped like the barrel of a .50 caliber handgun, who produced three-inch columns of ash, who lit Churchills in Macedonia, and exhaled clouds of smoke—spiced with cumin and sweetened with caramel—in Montenegro.

He also did card tricks.


About the Author:

Ashley Hamilton
Ashley Hamilton is an artist and father, who lives in Malibu and seeks to express the truth through his work.