Janice’s Thoughts: How appropriate to receive Houdini: Art and Magic on the eve of Halloween as it was on Halloween, October 31, 1926, that Harry Houdini, the renowned magician and escape artist, died. Today, 84 years later, the world continues to be intrigued by this extraordinary man, evidenced by an exhibit on Houdini opening at The Jewish Museum, New York, on October 29, 2010. This will be the first major art museum exhibition to examine the life and legend of Houdini. Author Brooke Kamin Rapaport serves as guest curator for the exhibit. She has compiled this fascinating catalogue, which is filled with photographs, essays, and interviews with persons of note influenced by Houdini, a chronology of the lives of Houdini and his wife, Bess, and rare engravings and contemporary art concerning Houdini. This volume serves as a companion to the exhibit at the museum as it examines this celebrated life, explores Houdini’s Jewishness, and the long lasting significance of the man, Harry Houdini.
Janice’s Thoughts: Junius Brutus Booth – dramatic genius admired by American presidents from John Adams to Andrew Jackson. Edwin Booth – son of Junius and a Shakespearean actor who was considered a prodigy at age 22 and admired by Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Grover Cleveland. John Wilkes Booth – son of Junius and a struggling actor who Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
Nora Titone’s My Thoughts Be Bloody presents the story of this Booth dynasty. She weaves a story beginning in 1796 in London, which moves to the theatrical stages on the American eastern seaboard and beyond for almost 100 years. As you read of this tragedy which unfolds as sibling rivalry escalates, you have to wonder at the unfairness of two apparently brilliant men being lost in history with the name of the third living in infamy forever.