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Topic: Has David Blaine completely lost it?
Message: Posted by: zmagicleez (Dec 2, 2002 09:12AM)
Did anyone see David Blaines Vertigo last night? There I was looking forward to seeing David's magic, but what did I get? 1 hour of the most tedious, monotonous rubbish he has ever done, 1 hour of him walking stupidly round New York and 1 hour of New York's finest singing his praises!

O.K so it was impressive standing on a pole for some time but that's not what we want to see.

Does anyone here remember David saying to Leonardo di Caprio that it seems like everyone is trying to do the next biggest thing and how that sort of performance just wasn't for him?

Don't get me wrong David Blaine is a fantastic magician with some good card skills, but I think it is time to choose which path he is really taking, magician or public spectacle.

And for someone to say he will surpass Houdini! You decide.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Dec 2, 2002 09:28AM)
Actually in recent interviews, David has stated that he has been yearning to get back to the tricks. He says that he just wanted to do one stunt, but then he felt he had to keep topping himself. He noticed this most in vertigo, where the stunt totally overshadowed the effects. So his next special should be more tricks and less stunt. He will still do a stunt, but the special will focus more on the tricks.

Have no fear, he has not completely lost it!

Nathan Pain
Message: Posted by: thehawk (Dec 2, 2002 09:40AM)
Watch him when he 's in the block of ice if you have nothing better to do. After two minutes of that you will find something to do. Then some people want to compare him to David Copperfield. I don't think so. :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Tilt (Dec 2, 2002 10:19AM)
He lost it?

I'm not sure that he ever had it.

Message: Posted by: Logan (Dec 2, 2002 10:24AM)
I'm sure DB will surprise us...I'm also sure he hears such feedback...


Message: Posted by: dr chutney (Dec 2, 2002 11:11AM)
Is it the fault of Blaine or the production company? Either way I have to agree with zmagicleez; the whole programe came across as a very pretentious exercise. Could easily have been a South Bank Show documentary. I also felt the two Healed and Sealed examples seemed a bit distant and not as impressive as they could have been. Then again, I probably need new glasses. Top moment for me was Hand Through Window. Neat.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Dec 2, 2002 12:37PM)
What everyone doesn't understand is that David, much like anyone in the world has other interests. He loves art & literature, and movies. And some of those segments that seem pretentious to some of you, are actually odes to some of his favorite artists, and movies, and literature. Jeff McBride is another magician like this. What he does transcends just mere magic, and moves into the art arena. I think that is where we all strive to be elevated to someday. If you don't, stop now, and hang up your six card repeat, because magic definitely doesn't need you wasting it's time.

Nathan Pain
Message: Posted by: twistedace (Dec 2, 2002 01:01PM)
I can't believe that someone would put Jeff McBride and David Blaine on the same plain. Blaine was just in the right place at the right time. I don't think that his card skills are impressive at all and his presentation is even worse. I wish that some network would do a special on more magicians. Kind of like a WGM on the street or in restaurants. Or even better, World's Greatest Close Up Magic so that everybody who loves Blaine will have their heads spin.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Dec 2, 2002 01:36PM)
I wasn't putting Blaine & McBride at the same level, or plane. I was just stating that in said special (Vertigo), some of the non magic parts were influenced by art & not magic, much like a lot of McBride's work. In fact I've played the McBride video I have for a lot of laymen, and they fall right asleep. The mixing of art into magic just bores some people to death & the others just misinterpret it. I, for one, appreciate the mixixng of personal tastes into magic. For instance Rudy Coby must be a huge James Bond fan, see how easy that was.

Nathan Pain
Message: Posted by: nobby (Dec 2, 2002 01:41PM)
My worry is that David Blaine is trying to come over as a Christ-like figure, or at the very least, pretentious in the extreme.
Of course, one has to blame Bill Kalush who is putting all the efects, narrations, methods, etc in Blaine's head.
Having said that, Blaine is good for American audiences.
Message: Posted by: Tilt (Dec 2, 2002 01:54PM)
Say what you want about Blaine, but Bill Kalush?
Message: Posted by: WilliamWHolcomb (Dec 2, 2002 02:37PM)
Tilt - you said it all. Wonder where Nobby is from....
Message: Posted by: dr chutney (Dec 2, 2002 03:21PM)
On 2002-12-02 14:36, nathanpain wrote:
The mixing of art into magic just bores some people to death ...
Nathan Pain

Yes it does, and parts of Vertigo did. I was under the impression that magic was supposed to entertain not act as a substitute Nytol. What next? David Copperfield levitates on an unmade bed, or Lance Burton saws a formaldehyde cow in half. Now that's what I call pretention.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Dec 2, 2002 05:03PM)
It sure is weird how Blaine aligns himself with some of the most respected people in magic, and people still slam him. I mean you are judged by the company you keep, ie Bill Kalush & Paul Harris. Not to mention, if you read the credits on his specials, there are a lot of big names there. I guess everyone just likes what they like. Opinions are like...and they all stink.

Nathan Pain
Message: Posted by: Pinky (Dec 2, 2002 05:42PM)
David Blaine has done his homework. He's realized what works and this has allowed him to continue doing more shows.

He isn't performing for magicians. He IS performing for the other 100 million + viewers in North America (and elsewhere) AND they love him!

I used to slander DB too, but I've since recanted after realizing these things and others.

It's easy to put someone down when they're in the spotlight... the media does it to actors on a daily basis. Being jealous is alright too. It's natural to wonder how things might have been if that was you and not him, but then someone would be saying your name and slandering you... just as many are doing to DB right now.

-Dave Cross

"The problem with being better than everyone else is that people tend to think you're pretentious."
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 3, 2002 03:44PM)
It's sad to see so many magicians bashing one of the biggest names in Magic today. Pinky is right- Blaine's magic isn't for magicians, and neither is magic itself. It was started with the intention of entertaining and amazing people who do not know how the effects are done, or how they were performed.

In the eyes of the laypeople: If you can perform ten different effects using one method, you know ten tricks. If you can perform one effect using ten different methods, you know one trick. David Blaine is a household name, he enjoys what he does and lives his life at the same time. That is something truly magical.

Several magicians (both young and old) are in magic with the desire to perform and be "in the know" about how magic effects are done. But in the process they forget how to enjoy watching magic performed, even if they know the method to the effect. The last thing magic needs (other than a huge amount of exposure) is those who perform it tearing each other apart. I believe something my mother told me when I was very little applies here: "If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all."
Message: Posted by: hackmonkey (Dec 3, 2002 05:38PM)
I really don't understand why a lot of magicians do nothing but insult Blaine. I for one have got a lot more work since he has been on T.V. When I met him I thanked him personally.

I think most of the magicians bashing him are hobby magicians who think they're as good as him (maybe they are) and feel jealous that it's not them with girls and money :rotf:

Seriously, I have met Blaine and he is such a nice guy. My friend showed me some 'extra' footage on one of his tapes of David made up as an old magician 'Tarqua the Great' I think. It was the funniest thing I have seen for ages, and showed that if he wanted to he could do magic like everyone else. But he didn't and it made him...........
Message: Posted by: Leeo (Dec 4, 2002 08:06AM)
This whole David Blaine thing is so tedious now. I agree 100% with what IceRaven02 says, she's so spot on with her comments, as is Pinky.

David Blaine has done more for getting magic back in the public spotlight than anybody, yes anybody, since Houdini. That includes Vernon, Marlo, Jennings - anyone you care to mention. I know these are provocative words.
I also know that if it wasn't for any of these forrunners there'd be no David Blaine.

What I'm trying to say is that Blaine has got magic back on the map again. Love him or loathe him, that's a fact.
Message: Posted by: DaveM (Dec 4, 2002 11:09AM)
I live in UK, and he appeared a couple of weeks ago on a talk show with Jonathin Ross. Jonathin asked him to perform a trick and he simply stuck a needle completely through his hand. Pretty bad when he had no better to offer.

He mentioned his next stunt being something along the lines of jumping off London Bridge with lead boots, in shackles and everything.

Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 4, 2002 11:33AM)
Maybe Blaine hadn't had time to grab anything else before he went on the show, or maybe he just wanted to perform that particular effect. There could be a thousand reasons why he didn't perform 'Anything' better. If it impressed the talk show host, Jonathin Ross, then it was successful.

By the way: What's great in the eyes of the laypeople is almost never what's great in the eyes of most magicians. It's a lesson I've learned on this board and elsewhere.
Message: Posted by: scottlurowist (Dec 4, 2002 03:29PM)
I used to be really into music and play in bands. The same thing happens in that world with the likes of Britney Spears and all.

So I agree with Pinky and IceRaven02... it all boils down to what the audience wants. Sometimes artists get too close to their art and forget what it's all about.

Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 4, 2002 03:38PM)
As for his jumping off London Bridge, I don't know if that would be televised or not. But I read elsewhere on this board that his next televised special would be less escapology and more street magic, as he felt he was getting too far away from the reason he was performing magic in the first place.
Message: Posted by: DougTait (Dec 4, 2002 05:29PM)
Also agree with IceRaven and Pinky. I personally don't care for DB's style, but I appreciate the difference in his art. If we would look at magic as performing art rather than "who is the best mechanic?" perhaps we can appreciate the art of DB. You don't have to like it, but at least acknowledge that it is popular.

The average viewer of magic does not care who the last FISM or FFFF winner was. They want to be entertained and Blaine has created a new niche that he has slipped in to.

There are thousands of skilled magic mechanics out there who are better than DB, but can't sell themselves and have no "art".

There are a some magicians out there making big bucks with mediocre mechanical skills, but are selling themselves and their performance art to a large audience.
Message: Posted by: HuronLow (Dec 5, 2002 08:20AM)
I guess it's more the presentation than the skill. You don't need to be full of flourishes and sleights to impress... but seriously, I think he'd be better off doing magic.
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 5, 2002 09:49AM)
I don't think he should stop performing. It's great publicity for the rest of us-pro, amateur, beginner and hobbyist. Blaine's a household name, and there are those laypeople who will go to see a magician's act because of something they saw Blaine do. (Or not do, but of course only we magicians are supposed to know that!) ;)
Message: Posted by: Anasazi (Dec 5, 2002 01:14PM)
I hear a lot of David Blaine references when I'm working, and as far as I'm concerned I take them as compliments. No need to reiterate what has already been said except for the bottom line -- laymen know who he is, they enjoy what he does, and if that makes them more interested in what I'm about to do, all the better.

Oh and BTW, 9 times out of 10 if I perform two-card monte or the voodoo ash trick (among others) that Blaine has featured on one of his specials, no one even comments on the fact that they have seen it before. They either are too polite to say so (that may be pushing it in my usual venue) or they remember the man and the "magic", and not the specific effects.

This turned out longer than I expected so to sum up, if the lay people enjoy him, and he is bringing us more exposure, more power to him.


(edited to fix a typo)
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 5, 2002 04:32PM)
My friend, I think you meant he's raising more awareness of magic. :lol: Exposure, unfortunately, is the Masked Moron's job.
Message: Posted by: Anasazi (Dec 6, 2002 06:05AM)
Fair enough. I think you see where I was going with this, though.
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 6, 2002 08:40AM)
I understood what you meant. :bg:
Message: Posted by: m@t (Dec 8, 2002 05:01AM)
I don't like to critisize DB. He has done far better then most magicians, even if he does do some dumb, non magical stuff. He has to do what the crowd wants to see.

I met him, and he seems like a nice kinda guy.

As for the needle trick, he has performed that at almost every interview he has done for the past 2 months. :eek:
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 8, 2002 05:56PM)
I guess the answer to the thread is-no, not completely. :lol:
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Dec 8, 2002 11:30PM)
David Blaine lost it? I didn't even know it was missing. :rotf:

Seriously, it's become a standard thing on this board to see people bashing him on one side then putting him high up on Magic Mountain (pun intended), but either way I don't get it. He's a performer. Let him perform. I'm sure every barb you toss at him makes him cry every time he goes to bank... or floats to the bank.

Many people on this board have already stated the obvious: whether you like him or hate him, the public loves him so use it to your advantage. Promote yourself. Show you have powers too... please, don't copy his style or go out and buy the latest effect he did, but show those around you that you have talent, too.

I can only hope one day to have some show or movie that will have so many people enraged and in love with me at the same time. I'm going to make it a point to never comment on Blaine on this board again... maybe we can all take that as a New Year's resolution and stop wasting energy discussing someone else's life when we should be working on our own.

Just my opinion, but I'm going to try to stick to my promise. See you guys on the other parts of the Café.
Greg :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Chris A. (Dec 9, 2002 11:47AM)
Hmm, not according to the ratings of his latest tv special. It tanked ratings wise. So whilst the public may "love him", they seem quite reluctant to actually watch him on TV anymore.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Dec 9, 2002 01:14PM)
I didn't hear that the "tower" piece, or whatever it was called, received bad ratings (if that is what you meant by his last show - I think there was a repeat of one of his earlier shows on recently, which would naturally receive less of an audience). Even if the show did recieve poorer ratings, it was still watched by millions. I'd love to see ratings numbers stacked up against other magicians specials. I'm sure David did quite well in comparison. Also his book seems to be everywhere, so I don't think the fascination has worn off yet, as much as some magicians would like to see it.
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 9, 2002 01:32PM)
His latest special was called "Vertigo", and involved a stunt where he jumped off a ten story pole into a bunch of carboard boxes & sleeping bags. From what it looked like in New York Square, the reason it got such poor TV ratings was because so many were watching it in person!
Message: Posted by: Chris A. (Dec 9, 2002 02:15PM)
On 2002-12-09 14:14, BillMcCloskey wrote:
I didn't hear that the "tower" piece, or whatever it was called, received bad ratings (if that is what you meant by his last show - I think there was a repeat of one of his earlier shows on recently, which would naturally receive less of an audience). [/quote]

The show that received really poor ratings was the one where he's laying in the street and riding the little bicycle around. Completely lost it's time slot that night I believe. And by poor ratings, I mean the
"original" showing got the poor ratings. I'm not talking about any repeats.

On 2002-12-09 14:32, IceRaven02 wrote:
From what it looked like in New York Square, the reason it got such poor TV ratings was because so many were watching it in person!

Hmm, even if every single New Yorker showed up to see him perform, it wouldn't significantly skew the Nielsen ratings nationwide. Heck, even if 100,000 showed up *which seems doubtful*, that would only be a fraction of the big apples population. :bg:
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 9, 2002 04:29PM)
Oh! I got confused about which special it was. Never mind then. :lol:
Message: Posted by: Mystero (Dec 10, 2002 10:10PM)
Speaking as a total non DB fan the latest special did lousy in the ratings and IMHO deserved to do lousy. I have seen DC, Blackstone, Pendragons, Penn&Teller, Henning, Daryl, Emerson, West, Elmsley, Lavand, Close, Yedid, Swiss, Maven... live and on the tube and all were great in both places.

As a performing magician I have yet to meet anyone who has seen DB perform live and be even slightly amazing. In my opinion it's too early to state whether this gentleman has the chops of a bigtime magician. Just one guys view.
Message: Posted by: francis farrell (Dec 11, 2002 09:37AM)
I saw Blaine on Ross, putting the needle through his hand. I thought it looked pretty good and several people mentioned it to me the following day. Even though he SAID it was an illusion, some were insisting that he had put the needle through!

I saw Vertigo, too. I thought it was better than the second special (where he supposedly went to a remote tribe who just happened to have soccer goal posts in the background).

People say his magic is not technically very great. Well, doesn't this just illustrate what everybody tells begining magicians: that in the hands of a good performer a simple trick can seem like a miracle?

I am not without my criticisms of him but always watch.

I had to smile at all the stuff about being cold on top of the column. Let's face it, anybody planning a stunt of this type would have given thought to the fact that at ten stories high it is bound to be cold at night. Great drama. Also excellent was having him fall into the boxes. Great shots of all the worried assistants rushing to his aid. Had he survived? Was he injured? Blaine understands audiences. One reason why his tricks are so efective is that he shows only one or two to each group. Any more and you are a magician doing a routine of tricks. More drama. And did I notice a sleeping bag amongst all the crushed caredboard?
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 11, 2002 04:06PM)
It did say that the sleeping bags were there, although I don't remember the reason it stated.
Message: Posted by: francis farrell (Dec 11, 2002 05:31PM)
Thanks IceRaven. I have a tape of the show and will listen for the reason next time I play it.

I thought the hand through the window part was good.
Message: Posted by: markjens (Dec 11, 2002 08:09PM)
Yes, I know that this one has been beaten to death, but I just needed to get it off my chest. I am not particularly a fan, though I won't ever be accused of blasting him either. I appreciate his drumming up interest in magic without wearing a paper bag over his head, for goodness sake. I have so many people with "magical curiosity" that I run into now, it is awesome. Not only that, we have the opportunity to either be skillful or not, just as Mr. Blaine does. Thanks,
Message: Posted by: Chris A. (Dec 12, 2002 11:37AM)
On 2002-12-11 10:37, francis farrell wrote:
I saw Blaine on Ross, putting the needle through his hand. I thought it looked pretty good and several people mentioned it to me the following day. Even though he SAID it was an illusion some were insisiting that he had put the needle through!

It's really more of a stunt than an illusion.

Think of this. When most people get a shot, the needle is so fine that you often don't see a hole or get any bleeding afterwards. Blaine uses a similiar needle to puncture his hand with little or no visible damage. Pretty good stunt actually, and not that dangerous as long as the needle is nice and sterile.
Message: Posted by: francis farrell (Dec 12, 2002 12:16PM)
Interesting, Flip. He definitely called it an illusion. So this would be a situation where the magician actually DID perform what the audience thought he performed but denied it. I think we're going all post-modern here!

Are you SURE that's what he did?
Message: Posted by: Chris A. (Dec 12, 2002 02:36PM)
I'm pretty sure. With care, I've heard it's even possible to put the needle through the hand and have it come out the palm. I've read accounts where Indian Fakirs would legitimately put very, very thin needles through their cheeks and other parts of their bodies legitimately with little or no harm.

It's not baffling when you relate it to the experience of getting a shot. That needle goes fairly deep and it's often a bloodless procedure with little or no evidence of a hole.

Cool that Blaine would resurrect such an old concept tho'...

Just because he said it's an illusion doesn't necessarily make it so. Not having seen the particular incident you're relating it's hard to be 100% sure.

Sometimes magicians actually do as they say believe it or not!
Message: Posted by: mattneufeld (Dec 12, 2002 05:13PM)
Folks: This is getting tedious, but let's stay grounded and mature. It is okay to criticize-as long as it's done in a civilized manner.

It is a fact that some of the Blaine specials are marketed and advertised as magic when indeed the hours include very little magic-which is, factually, bad marketing and bad advertising. And when the non-magical stunts are advertised as such, then they're presented in such an amateurish, badly-directed, badly-written and poorly executed way (this is from artistic viewpoints in terms of writing, blocking, directing, suspense, development, narrative and explanation, all of which suffer greatly on his shows no matter how you cut it from a professional standpoint) that the shows end up very disappointing.

It is fact that the shows have received poor ratings and lousy reviews. It's simply the old standby-presentation. If the shows were produced by some real pros-as many magicians have suggested-and the writing, staging, stage direction, art, design, presentation, production, narrative and suspense factors were improved, then we wouldn't see these streams! And we'd see compliments!

But this isn't "bashing," but rather the same constructive criticism that has appeared in national newspaper, magazines, television shows, radio shows and websites.
Message: Posted by: francis farrell (Dec 12, 2002 05:54PM)
I did read somewhere that Blaine was researching old tricks in order to revive them. So, perhaps that acounts for the needle through the palm. Well, maybe magicians do mean what they say. but he said it was an illusion so, if he means what he says, then he didn't put a needle through his hand.

I think it is perfectly legitimate for the magicican to weave a web of deceit. If he put a needle through his hand then this is a stunt. If he tricked us into thinking he put a needle through his hand, then it's magic. Personally, I'm more impressed by the latter. Which is not to say that I am unimpressed by the former!

Thinking about it again, on the Jonathan Ross show the needle did go right through the hand. Before it pierced the skin you could see the skin buldging with the pressure. Perhaps this is the clue that it is a fake? I'm wondering if a needle fine enough to pass through the back of the hand to the other side-without causing bleeding- would be able to make the skin buldge in the way that it did.

But there you go, he's got us talking.
Message: Posted by: Mickey Cohen (Jan 12, 2003 11:35AM)
In my opinion, David Blaine is no more a great magician than Yoko Ono is a great singer, though both have aquired money and fame. Both were contrived by the forces of marketing, not talent.

DB is a television creation. The odds of seeing him perform on stage in front of a live audience for an hour are the same as seeing Felix the Cat in the flesh with his bag of tricks entertain a live audience. In my opinion David Blaine the magician only exists on our TV screens. Doesn't make him bad, just in a different class that's forming in that big house "with many rooms" called Magic.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jan 12, 2003 06:39PM)
Actually your analogy is wrong. Yoko Ono had tremendous powers of marketing at her disposal and has never been a popular artist in the music field. Marketing alone has never made anyone with no talent successful, just look at Pia Zidora.

Blane is not a success because of marketing. He's a success because he is talented at what he does and he has found a popular vehicle where his brand of magic shines and people are interested in watching.
Message: Posted by: Stick Man (Jan 15, 2003 12:51PM)
He should have took some cards up there with him, he could do tricks to the camara or throw them over the crowd. That would have been funny :rotf:
Message: Posted by: gtxby33 (Jan 18, 2003 04:45AM)
You don't have your facts straight. He is not a magician first of all. You can even HEAR him say this. I used to think that David Blaine was kind of dumb and that he was a freak that went up to random people on the streets scaring people (hence the name, mysterious stranger) and he does. You do not see this because it is edited. Blaine has tricks of his own.

My friend saw him in LA and said he was MUCH better off camera. So... It just goes to show you people's magic off camera.