$24.95Adapted from his popular radio series “Jay’s Journal of the Air,” Celebrations of Curious Characters features one-page anecdotes of mind-bending performers (limbless jugglers, banjo-picking birds, Anglo-Texan saxophone-playing siamese twins) paired with engravings, mezzotints, and broadsheets from the author’s remarkable collection. You’ll find engaging vignettes on a daunting variety of topics: musical prodigies, cannon-ball catchers, conmen, card cheats, and performing politicians. Plus, a man who made a model of Lincoln Cathedral out of 1,000,800 bottle corks; a woman continuously pregnant for six-and-a-half years; a theatrical strong man who became the world’s leading Egyptologist; and a healthy number of digressions on time, money, and the argot of thieves.
In a delectably deadpan and winning style, Jay conveys his admiration and affection for the offbeat that characterized his bestselling Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women. He explains how wags since the sixteenth century have cheated at bowling; he explores the ancient relationship between conjuring and dentistry; and he chronicles the exploits of ceiling walkers and human flies. Crammed full of illustrations drawn from the author's massive personal archive, Jay's Journal of Anomalies will baffle, instruct, and, above all, delight.
$49.95This is an informal history of sensational, scientific, silly, satisfying and startling attractions based on seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century broadsides from Ricky Jay's extraordinary collection.