David Blaine

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Rennie » 10/07/12 11:24 AM

Mostly just curious. Does anyone on this forum really care about David Blaine's latest Idiotic stunt "Electrified"?
I think he should have stuck to his street magic, which was very entertaining instead of these Circus Sideshow stunts he has been performing, and I use the word "performing" very loosely.
Opinions ???
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Postby El Mystico » 10/07/12 12:53 PM

Personally - I saw an article on it, and couldn't be bothered to read it.
but - there WAS an article!
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Postby Diego » 10/07/12 09:04 PM

To loosely paraphrase Dr. A.M. Wilson writing in THE SPHINX almost a hundred years ago:

"What do the those circus/sideshow feats of Houdini have to do with magic? How can handcuffs, straitjackets, or jailbreaking have anything to do with the artistry of magic as performed by Frederick Powell?!

When I hear some knocking David Blaine, I feel like I'm hearing Mitch Miller knocking Rock and Roll, (which is why Clive Davis got his job).

Yes, there are article(S) about David's latest stunt...anyone else in magic getting more/better press these days?

People paid 50 cents to watch me do the electric chair act in Ward Hall's sideshow, while David Blaine will be compensated in over 7 figures for this.

Bravo David Blaine!
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Postby Rennie » 10/08/12 12:39 AM

Diego wrote:To loosely paraphrase Dr. A.M. Wilson writing in THE SPHINX almost a hundred years ago:

"What do the those circus/sideshow feats of Houdini have to do with magic? How can handcuffs, straitjackets, or jailbreaking have anything to do with the artistry of magic as performed by Frederick Powell?!

When I hear some knocking David Blaine, I feel like I'm hearing Mitch Miller knocking Rock and Roll, (which is why Clive Davis got his job).
Yes, there are article(S) about David's latest stunt...anyone else in magic getting more/better press these days?

People paid 50 cents to watch me do the electric chair act in Ward Hall's sideshow, while David Blaine will be compensated in over 7 figures for this.

Bravo David Blaine!

So you think watching David Blaine in a block of ice, or a fish tank, or buried alive, or electricity running through him and him standing there with that "DUH" dopey look on his face is entertaining.
He has no personality and people watch him only because people will watch any dangerous stunt, he could get hurt or killed.
That is real entertainment. Look it up !!!
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Postby JohnCox » 10/08/12 12:42 PM

Diego wrote:To loosely paraphrase Dr. A.M. Wilson writing in THE SPHINX almost a hundred years ago:

"What do the those circus/sideshow feats of Houdini have to do with magic? How can handcuffs, straitjackets, or jailbreaking have anything to do with the artistry of magic as performed by Frederick Powell?!

When I hear some knocking David Blaine, I feel like I'm hearing Mitch Miller knocking Rock and Roll, (which is why Clive Davis got his job).

Yes, there are article(S) about David's latest stunt...anyone else in magic getting more/better press these days?

People paid 50 cents to watch me do the electric chair act in Ward Hall's sideshow, while David Blaine will be compensated in over 7 figures for this.

Bravo David Blaine!


Well said, Diego.

I think Blaine's stunts are very creative and, well, pretty amazing! They are also exactly what Houdini would be doing if he were alive today. Houdini was firmly headed in this direction with the Shelton Pool Test and especially the Summerfield's Test in the months before his death. The idea of seeing Houdini performing endurance tests, not escapes, would have become a regular event in New York City, just as it is now with David Blaine.

And the posters he creates for these are always beautiful.
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Postby Edward Pungot » 10/08/12 02:02 PM

"There's no such thing as bad publicity."
--Uri Geller
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Postby billmccloskey » 10/08/12 03:31 PM

"So you think watching David Blaine in a block of ice, or a fish tank, or buried alive, or electricity running through him and him standing there with that "DUH" dopey look on his face is entertaining."

ah..yep!

"He has no personality and people watch him only because people will watch any dangerous stunt, he could get hurt or killed."

Actually a lot of his stunts were not particularly dangerous. and clearly you've never attended one of his performances. Remember his performances often last weeks at a time. When I've been around one of his performances in New York, the audiences are highly entertained and he usually interacts with them.
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Postby JohnCox » 10/08/12 09:01 PM

David made it. He also just announced that this would be the last endurance stunt that he would ever do. :o
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Postby Diego » 10/08/12 10:09 PM

The first paragraph on the chapter on Houdini, in Blaine's book,"Mysterious Stranger", is the BEST description of who Houdini IS and WHY.

He may have no personality,(?) to some, but to his target demographic and beyond, he is too cool for those who don't get it. (for the right or wrong reasons, it works today for him in today's world).

I could name any number of those who have performed dangerous,(real or perceived) stunts that the public has ignored, whose names no one knows or cares about...some who have had network specials with no impact.

Blaine's audience is attracted and connected to him, BECAUSE of his persona.
ABC's Roone Arlege,(spelling?) later wrote the 2 most memorable personalities of the 1970's were Muhammad Ali and Evel Knievel, and Blaine knows what works TODAY. A friend who works for a TV ratings company told me there are twenty-somethings who know who Blaine is but not Copperfield.

If none of this makes sense, I'm sorry to have interrupted your evening, please continue listening to your Bobby Vinton and Troy Donahue albums and enjoy.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/08/12 10:11 PM

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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/09/12 02:10 AM

I agree with Dr. Wilson. Whatever this stunt was--Defying the power of electricity? Standing in a cage for 62 hours? It isn't magic. Vernon said that magic is supposed to be mysterious and inexplicable.

Perhaps this was a daredevil stunt? The best daredevil I ever saw was Evil Knievel. He repeatedly jumped over long rows of cars or buses on a motorcycle and broke almost every bone in his body at one time or another. He would often add a few more extra vehicles to the row, just to make it harder. Knievel even tried to jump the Snake River Canyon in a small rocket. It was no Copperfield trick photography special effect. I remember a reporter on television interviewed Knievel before the Snake River Canyon jump, and he looked really scared. Of course, Knievel failed in that stunt, but no matter--it was more exciting to see a REAL daredevil try and fail, than watching a grown man sitting in a large plexiglass box for a month wearing diapers.

Blaine wore a chain mail suit to protect his body from the currents throughout the ordeal. I doubt he was in any real danger. Perhaps it would have been more dangerous to sit in a real electric chair and survive the pull of the switch.
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Postby Greg Edmonds » 10/09/12 10:19 AM

JohnCox wrote:
Diego wrote:To loosely paraphrase Dr. A.M. Wilson writing in THE SPHINX almost a hundred years ago:

"What do the those circus/sideshow feats of Houdini have to do with magic? How can handcuffs, straitjackets, or jailbreaking have anything to do with the artistry of magic as performed by Frederick Powell?!

When I hear some knocking David Blaine, I feel like I'm hearing Mitch Miller knocking Rock and Roll, (which is why Clive Davis got his job).

Yes, there are article(S) about David's latest stunt...anyone else in magic getting more/better press these days?

People paid 50 cents to watch me do the electric chair act in Ward Hall's sideshow, while David Blaine will be compensated in over 7 figures for this.

Bravo David Blaine!


Well said, Diego.

I think Blaine's stunts are very creative and, well, pretty amazing! They are also exactly what Houdini would be doing if he were alive today. Houdini was firmly headed in this direction with the Shelton Pool Test and especially the Summerfield's Test in the months before his death. The idea of seeing Houdini performing endurance tests, not escapes, would have become a regular event in New York City, just as it is now with David Blaine.

And the posters he creates for these are always beautiful.


David actually performed his (very unusual, buried in the ground) "underwater" test as a tribute to Houdini.

I represented Houdini's niece, Marie Blood in many of her first media and THE first magic convention at which she appeared, and went on doing so for 18 years. I've been gathering photos in recent weeks for her biography/work in progress "Harry and Bess - Marie Hinson Blood's Life With The Great Houdinis"

When David performed this stunt/endurance test, his creative team invited, and paid for, Marie to appear during his "performance," for lack of a better term, and comment in the media about the obvious comparison to Houdini.

She very much enjoyed the experience, and got to visit with old friends she'd known from her days in the Big Apple in the process. She met Uri G there, and had an interesting experience with him, covered in the book mentioned herein. I shared this story with my friend, the late Mario Truzzi, who then (with my and Marie's permission) passed it on to Uri who, I understand, "got a kick out of it."

Personally, I'm glad David's endurance test and other dangerous stunts are over. Frankly, I didn't find some of them terribly interesting, but I freely admit that a couple of them were quite compelling. If you've not done so, have a look at David's talk with the TED crowd on YouTube regarding his breath holding stunt (in) the water. If all he said was true (and I have no reason to assume it wasn't, but as we all know, prevarication is part and parcel with prestidigitation), the experience actually provided valuable information to medical folks (which I also used to be) as well.

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Postby Greg Edmonds » 10/09/12 10:31 AM

Leonard Hevia wrote:I agree with Dr. Wilson. Whatever this stunt was--Defying the power of electricity? Standing in a cage for 62 hours? It isn't magic. Vernon said that magic is supposed to be mysterious and inexplicable ,,,

Blaine wore a chain mail suit to protect his body from the currents throughout the ordeal. I doubt he was in any real danger. Perhaps it would have been more dangerous to sit in a real electric chair and survive the pull of the switch.


I've not followed the current stunt, but it sounds like Leonard may be correct regarding the metal suit, which may have aided in acting as a Faraday Cage (blocking the static field), spreading the electrical energy around, if only slightly in this case, rather than allowing it to focus on one "spot," which, in those who suffer electrocution, is considered an entrance wound, an exit wound existing elsewhere on the body, and the direct line between often being literally and instantly "baked" -- both hard and soft tissue -- in the process.

Too, it's the amperage, rather than voltage, which creates more danger in realistic terms, as I understand the concept - it's been a very long time since I was trained in such matters. See: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_d ... nd_voltage

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Postby Diego » 10/10/12 12:13 AM

RE: "Those circus sideshow stunts"

In "Houdini on Magic", Walter B. Gibson recalls Houdini telling him, "Don't say anything, but the same act I was doing at Huber's Museum,(aka a sideshow under a solid roof) for $18 a week, I'm still doing and now getting $1,800."

I've said it before and it's still true:
No one in magic understands TV better than David Blaine.
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Postby Rennie » 10/10/12 11:04 AM

JohnCox wrote:David made it. He also just announced that this would be the last endurance stunt that he would ever do. :o


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Postby Smurf » 10/11/12 11:53 AM

[size:11pt]What is the criteria for a quality performance? Does success in the marketplace or hits on the net confirm quality? Or do we just throw our hands up and say there is no objective standard?

My interest in this stunt and all of his other stunts is nil. I would definitely prefer to watch his regular magic.

I wonder how many people were anxiously awaiting David Blaine's next stunt in the past year like fans wait for new music from singers/groups or movies from actors/actresses.

Was there a lot of buzz from a breathless demographic target just straining with anticipation for the next stunt or did the interest show up when the promos started?

I think one confirmation of true interest from the public is how many people seek out information on an artist (or entertainer, group, athlete, author, etc) and travel to witness a performance by that person(s).

Watching something that is placed in front of you on a newspaper, television or internet page certainly shows some interest, but not necessarily a significant interest.

Remember that people spent their money on pet rocks and used up hours of their life watching Jersey Shore.[/size] [font:Comic Sans MS](shudder!)[/font]
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Postby billmccloskey » 10/11/12 02:15 PM

"My interest in this stunt and all of his other stunts is nil. I would definitely prefer to watch his regular magic."

My interest in stage performers like Copperfield and Lance Burton is nil as well. But it doesn't prevent lots of people from seeing them. I'd rather watch close up. But I certainly wouldn't extrapolate my lack of interest to a general lack of interest.

I find it interesting to see how many folks think just because THEY don't like something, that no one else should either.

It is also interesting, but not surprising, that many magicians are clueless when it comes to what the public is interested in.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/11/12 02:28 PM

billmccloskey wrote:"My interest in this stunt and all of his other stunts is nil. I would definitely prefer to watch his regular magic."

My interest in stage performers like Copperfield and Lance Burton is nil as well. But it doesn't prevent lots of people from seeing them. I'd rather watch close up. But I certainly wouldn't extrapolate my lack of interest to a general lack of interest.

I find it interesting to see how many folks think just because THEY don't like something, that no one else should either.

It is also interesting, but not surprising, that many magicians are clueless when it comes to what the public is interested in.


Macdonalds. X Factor. 1 Direction. etc etc

What is widely popular is very rarely 'good'.
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Postby billmccloskey » 10/11/12 02:52 PM

"What is widely popular is very rarely 'good'."

by your standards I assume. Things that are widely unpopular are rarely good as well.

Performance has only one critical criteria as far as I'm concerned: popularity. If a lot of people like it, it is good (regardless of what you think of it). Jersey Shore is very good at what it does, it just doesn't do anything for me.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/11/12 03:20 PM

The films "The Godfather" was widely popular, as was its sequel. Both better than good.
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Postby Daniel Z » 10/11/12 04:11 PM

Perhaps it is less a question of popularity vs quality than an example of Sturgeons Law (aka Sturgeons Revelation). This example of the Pareto Principle (you can always Max Maven for more details) was coined as a response to the claim that 90% of science fiction was crap. A notion to which back in the 50s the famous science fiction writer responded 90% of everything is crap.

precise percentage will vary with user
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/11/12 06:51 PM

Porn is popular. Very popular. By Bill's criterion porn Is good.

(not disagreeing)

Kim kardashian is popular. While I cannot fathom what talent (other than the making of a sex tape) she has, bill thinks she is good.

I guess Matt and Trey got it right - the bar is just too low
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/11/12 09:27 PM

South Park's finding in the depths... +1
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