Yesterday, the FBI raided David Copperfield's Las Vegas warehouse in connection with an rape investigation. Copperfield's warehouse — the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts — is more interesting than its owner, because it's the last resting place for the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts, one of the most important collections of rare books about magic. During the eighties, the collection was curated by everyone's favorite magician, scholar, and David Mamet cast member, Ricky Jay. When Copperfield bought the library, someone in the magic community called it the equivalent of "an Elvis impersonator winding up with Graceland." Mark Singer described the Copperfield-ized warehouse in all its tackiness in a 1993 New Yorker profile of Jay:
A driver met Jay at the airport and delivered him to a warehouse. In front was an enormous neon sign advertising bras and girdles.
It was Copperfield's conceit that the ideal way for a visitor to view the Mulholland Library would be to pass first through a storefront filled with lingerie-clad mannequins and display cases of intimate feminine apparel. With enthusiasm, Copperfield escorted Jay around the premises, insisting that he read each of the single-entendre slogans posted on the walls — "We Support Our Customers" and "Our Bras Will Never Let You Down" … When Copperfield pressed one of the red-nippled breasts of a nude mannequin, the electronic lock on a mirrored door deactivated, and he and Jay stepped into the main warehouse space … After Jay returned to Los Angeles, he said, "As much as I love this collection, I didn't think I could handle going through Copperfield's bra-and-girdle emporium every time I went to see it."
The library was raided once before, during the previous owner's bankruptcy proceedings; seeing FBI equipment all over rare books and posters, Jay reportedly told an agent, "I don't care who the fuck you are. Get your crap off those posters." Let's hope Copperfield defended his lingerie collection as fiercely. —Matthew Dessem
Cops: Seattle Woman Claims David Copperfield Raped Her [Fox News]
Secrets of the Magus [NYer via RickyJay.com]