David Blaine: Waiting for the Wheels to Come Off

One must love an article that begins thusly:

The first time I meet David Blaine, he is weird. Zoned out, distracted or high on something. It’s a private dinner in an upstairs room at a London hotel and he enters without small talk. Dressed all in black with a black baseball cap, the American illusionist is big, bulky and intimidating.

The article in today’s The Evening Herald profiles magician David Blaine from a distance – at least emotionally.  The writer is clearly not one of the millions sold on the concept of David Blaine.  He views the performer as an oddity; hence an appropriate topic for a news story, we presume.

Mr. Blaine performs some pretty amazing effects for the reporter but he does not seem overly impressed.  The tricks he describes seem great but as the writer notes, “wImage of David Blaine on Inside Magice expect to be astonished.”  He does not say if he was astonished though.

Mr. Blaine confesses that despite his reputation as a performer of death-defying stunts, he is “obsessed with magic.”

He considers magic as a grounding center for his peripatetic life.  “It’s what drives me. It’s my favorite thing. It’s my saving grace. Like a meditation. I don’t even know what I would do without it.”

We know the feeling.  Give us a deck of cards and we are content.  Take away our deck of cards or our two silver dollars and the panic comes back.

Mr. Blaine teased his fans with scant information about an upcoming performance.

“There is a very big idea that I am going to do in London for the first time ever,” he says. “It’s a very simple idea, but it will be the best thing I have ever done. The most exciting. I know that it will drive me and I will push myself in a way I never would if it was not in front of me.”

It is scheduled to happen sometime in 2016 and in a football stadium.  That’s all we know so far.

We were thinking it would be the world’s longest performance of The Six Card Repeat.  That would have a lot of magicians watching for sure and there would be drama as he risked paper cuts and wrist injury.  Perhaps it is something different.

“No, an event. It is different from anything I have ever done, but combines everything. It will make sense out of everything I have spent my career working towards. If it works.”
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David Blaine: The Next Last Greatest Magician in the World?

Inside Magic Image of Ed Mishell DrawingMagician and endurance maven David Blaine takes to the air this evening in the United States through ABC television to ask Real or Magic?  He is joined in this endeavor by Will Smith, Olivia Wilde, Woody Allen, Stephen Hawking and other celebrities who, we are informed, will react to his tricks.

We like David Blaine and believe he has done much to revitalize our wonderful craft and feel badly that we want him to be different than the way he is.  He is not Doug Henning or David Copperfield or Harry Blackstone Jr. but he is very talented and, in his own way, charismatic and captivating.

Still, we miss Doug Henning performing the Water Torture Tank live on national television.  We miss David Copperfield’s well produced escapes and illusions performed on tape but with the assurance the home audience was seeing the events unfold in real time without camera tricks.  We miss Harry Blackstone Jr. for many, many reasons; not the least of which was his wonderful persona – so serious and light-hearted at the same time and able to convince even the most jaded teenager that he could really perform magic.

But David Blaine is bringing magic to the audience of the times where camera trickery is expected and even celebrated.  Attention spans are short and expectations are high.   Each generation of magic faces a similar challenge.  Jim Steinmeyer’s outstanding book, The Last Greatest Magician in the World tells of Howard Thurston making the transition from vaudeville to the traveling, full-evening show and the ultimate demise of that elaborate show type.  We know of Thurston today because he survived and conquered the new formats and met his audience where they sat.  They were no longer in vaudeville halls watching one of eight shows in a day’s time.  They came to see a full-length show and he had the props and chops to show them what they wanted to see – year after year.

We like David Blaine and wish him the best with his newest take on a classic art.  If there is anyone that can again move magic in a new direction, it is David Blaine.

David Blaine Returns to TV for Sweeps Magic

Inside Magic Image of David BlaineABC Television is putting their sweeps hope on magician David Blaine this fall.  Mr.  Blaine’s special “David Blaine: Real or Magic,” is slated for Tuesday, November 19 at 9:30 p.m., Eastern.

As we have come to expect, he will have several A-List celebrities on-hand to be amazed and serve as a defacto committee for viewers at home.

Among the stars will be Jamie Foxx, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Ricky Gervais, Katy Perry, Woody Allen, Robert DeNiro, Kanye West, Harrison Ford, Will Smith and Olivia Wilde.

He will even check in with Stephen Hawking whilst in the UK.

It seems fitting to review some of the stunts from past episodes:

1.   He’s been buried alive in New York City for a week

2.  Encased inside a six-ton block of ice for three days and nights,

3.  Perched atop a 100-foot-tall pillar in Bryant Park for 36 hours without a safety net

4.  Ate nothing but nothing and drank only water whilst inside a transparent box in London for 44 days,

5.  Spent one week in a sphere-shaped pool at Lincoln Center and almost broke the world record for holding his breath.  He ultimately broke the record on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” by not breathing for 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

6.  Hung upside down for five days in New York’s Central Park.

7.   Stood in the middle of a million volts of electricity for 73 consecutive hours.

We cannot wait to see what he has planned next — especially if it is magic-related.

Jim Carrey “Criss Angel and David Blaine’s Offspring”

Jim-Carrey-as-Magician-Steve Gray from New Film The Incredible Burt WonderstoneIt is a magic story as old as time.  Superstar magicians dominate all other acts in the mythical village of “Las Vegas” and become complacent from their success and guaranteed box office draw.

Young up-and-comer magician (Jim Carrey) looks to challenge the flashy duo, causing a crisis of confidence.  The magic partnership breaks up bringing economic devastation to both magicians.

Fortunately, an attractive and loyal assistant (Olivia Wilde) encourages the senior magician to return to basics; to find the love he once held deep in his show-biz heart for magic and for his partnership.

The Hollywood production people sent us a blurb (remember the old days when it was illegal to send blurbs using the U.S. Postal System?) describing the plot line in two  pithy paragraphs thusly:

Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other.

Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.

We look forward to seeing Jim Carrey as the young buck, Steve Gray.  He performs magic from a new paradigm like cutting off his face or not using the bathroom for almost a week.  According to one critic, his character is a melange of David Blaine and Criss Angel.

We also understand that David Copperfield appears in the film as himself and has contributed a new illusion to the story.


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David Blaine Signs on with the Beeb

Inside Magic Image of Fed Chairman Ben BernankeEveryone loves Justin Bieber.  We weren't sure until we read the USA Today and saw their very helpful graphic showing that everyone love everything about Justin Bieber always.

We think that was the proper interpretation of the graphic.  It wasn't our copy of the USA Today.  It was half-way tucked under the door of our neighbor here at the Marriott by the airport.  Ours was locked in our spacious executive suite along with our luggage and the two keys made specially for us by Trina last night. 

The graphic showed some kind of pie chart with an outline of the globe and pictures of either Justin Bieber or a child actor with a really bad haircut surrounded by hearts flooding towards his floating head from locations around the world. 

It may have been a graphic about the Federal Reserve Board's decision to undertake a third round of Quantitate Easing but the picture didn't look like Princeton University Professor and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke per se.  

Anyway, our point was that Justin Bieber is one popular singer and he wants to add some specialness  to his upcoming tour.  Logically, he has hired David Blaine to mix magic, mirth and music to give the audience something about which they will no doubt tweet and blog.   

Mr. Bieber's first show will be on September 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. 

He said he is rehearsing "like crazy" and is "really excited" about having David Blaine consulting. 

Ironically, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has also signed on David Blaine to assist in the creation of a pamphlet teaching readers how to go without food for up to 40 days in the event the latest monetary move doesn't do the trick.

(See what we did there? "doesn't do the trick"? Blaine's a magician and . . . )