Dai Vernon: A Biography--Artist - Magician - Muse (Vol. 1: 1894-1941)

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9780974468150: Dai Vernon: A Biography--Artist - Magician - Muse (Vol. 1: 1894-1941)
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Dai Vernon: the last great undiscovered artist of the 20th century.His medium was magic and with it, Vernon turned the clandestine world of conjuring on its ear with virtuoso sleight-of-hand and a dogged pursuit for perfection.Born in 1894 in Ottawa, the son of a Canadian civil servant, Vernon moved to New York - Manhattan - in 1915, and never looked back. Miracles flowed from his fingertips - effortlessly. The source of his secrets? The underworld and the gamblers, husters and con-men that roamed back-room dens of iniquity, bunked in jail cells and walked the streets of America. Vernon sought them out, befriended them, and made their work, their covert methods, his. This book, the first in-depth examination of Vernon's life, traces the first half of his remarkable journey - through Ottawa, Coney Island, Chicago, Manhattan, Kansas City and Colorado Springs - and the celebrities - Houdini, Billy Rose, and Roosevelt, that Vernon encountered along the way. Dai Vernon: A Biography also details the evolution of magic in the 20th century. From the stages of London and Paris to the back rooms of magic emporiums where secrets were bought and sold, Vernon's life and work escort the reader through vaudeville, Broadway theaters, grand magic spectaculars, New York nightspots and the dawn of television. Here, cornerstones of the craft have finally been laid bare for all to see.

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"The joy of the book comes from the quixotic quest at the root of Vernon s life. In an age when mediocrity and acquiescence to the banal is the norm, Vernon s relentless pursuit of perfection is invigorating. David Ben --perhaps because he shares the inclination -- details every step and misstep in this regard. He admires Vernon, but makes no excuses for his poor performance as a husband and father. Instead, he makes us understand that there is a universe of ideas and ideals -- we refer to it as 'magic', here on our little planet -- that some people find endlessly enchanting." ---Paul Quarrington, Books in Canada, April, 2007

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