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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » How good is David Blaine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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scrapdizzy
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I know he obviously popular etc and I personally find his Magic more entertaining than Criss Angel but I'm curious as a relative newbie who thinks they are all pretty dang good.

How would you rate his skills as a magician in general compared to others who are talented but just not as well known?

Probably many people on this forum.
S2000magician
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When his first TV special came out - years ago - the next day all of the magic fora were abuzz about how awful his technique was.

They were watching the wrong thing.

As magicians, we shouldn't care about his technique; we should study the reactions of his audience - which were extremely positive - and determine how we (with our incredibly good technique) can generate reactions in our audiences on the same scale.

That said, to answer the question you posed, and to put it in the proper context, I was surprised how poor his technique was on some effects (the Invisible Deck springs to mind); however, I've never seen another of his specials after the first.
MagicMan001
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I've actually met him before and believe it or not he is quite skilled technically. What got him famous was his ideas of stunning audiences. It's sad to see and hear people ridiculing a man for his technique just because they have this ego believing they know more than him and are better than him. I believe if magicians try to compete with each other or compare to who is better, then they clearly aren't in it for the right reasons. I respect him as a fellow magician and I put it like this, if anything "thinks" they're better than him or anyone else, then why don't you have millions of dollars ?> Smile He's made money off it, you haven't.. Don't hate on fellow magicians, it's bad karma. That's just my thoughts on it.
Cain
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Psssht- Karma. Metaphysical hokum, I say. People often ask me about Blaine and I'll give you my standard response (echoing the earlier reply): A poor technician (judging by his first special), but a brilliant performer. Also, his first special is an object lesson in the importance of editing.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
Hideo Kato
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When we compare or rank magicians, we should compare/rank other skills also, I believe. Acting skill, Showmanship skill, Business skill etc. If you (or your manger) don't have business skill, it will be difficult to be successful even if you have all of other skills.

If his hands skill is not better than you, it is possible his other skills are far better than you. He is a very good magician as a professional.

Hideo Kato
Chris Henderson
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In a world where magic on TV was getting bigger and bigger, it was inevitable that the pendulum had to swing back the other way to smaller, more intimate magic. People who work in television understand the importance of seeing the faces of people's reaction to any unusual event. TV people don't like video of inanimate objects. They like good footage of people reacting. Blaine saw, and filled, this niche. And that he did very well!

Have the producers who greenlit Blaine's special (or most other laymen for that matter) ever seen a Michael Close or a Michael Ammar? Probably not. But they saw the raw footage of the reactions on people's faces who have probably never seen any magic outside a child's birthday show (no disrespect to children's performers!) and they ran with it and made a ton of money in the process. The result for us magicians: More people are interested in magic. And that's a good thing! A rising tide raises all ships. No matter Blaine's level of expertise, all magicians could learn some lessons from the phenomenon that resulted in the mind's of laymen after the first Blaine special.
"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief"

--Gerry Spence
J.Dunaway
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I could judge him on technical aspects as well as I good judge any other magician I only saw perform on tv or on the streets. However, I met him personally when he came to Cleveland with Dennis Kucinich and Sean Penn, (yes, a very Very odd trio), and the way he handles the crowd and the cards is a quality found in many actors and actresses. This is his genius, his acting. He barely needs to believe a word he's saying because the way he says it, and the persona he's built is incredible.

On another note, I believe the way that he's been doing stunts and, furthermore, his interaction with children on his Drowned Alive special is an attempt at making sure he's not stuck into a personality that people could bore of easily. He is creating a roomy area to dabble in, so that if he decides he wants to be a bit funnier, or decides he wants to go this way or that, it's not a man stepping over his boundaries, but a talented artist flexing more of their abilities. Au contraire de Criss Angel, whose now locked into the "Korn, Marilyn Manson, Devil May Care" schematic he's created through people CONSTANTLY seeing him like this.

IMHO.
RJ Hunt
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On a scale of 1-10...I would give him 6.75...maybe a 7.0 on the high side.
Cain
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Quote:
On 2006-12-24 23:12, Kreate wrote:
and the persona he's built is incredible.


Someone on these forums once posted a great quote attributed to Vernon (so skepticism is warranted with regard to origins): an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance. Moreover, people are unable to separate the image from the performance, which is also true for music.

Anyway, I think I'd rather meet Kucinich and Penn.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
MagicMan001
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Who cares really, bottom line is, He's a smart business man who is making millions meanwhile lots of people who make no money at all in magic are sitting back judging him, their opinions mean nothing.
pepka
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I wouldn't say their opinions mean nothing. Nothing to his bank account absolutely....

I watched his first special with a layman friend and he pointed out that he had seen me perform 5 or 6 of the tricks. At that time, I was still an amateur and it was good to see that the classics; ambitious card, invisible deck, etc. could get that kind of reaction.
Silly Walter the Polar Bear
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If I were a layperson, I probably would have really liked him. As a magician, I thought that there are far better performers and magicians that I would have liked to have seen succeed.

No offense to David Blaine. Good for him for getting famous and also Blaine has probably been the inspiration for many new magicians into the craft.
pepka
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I was just reading another thread that pointed something out about the first Blaine special. On his first special, he performed a move by Paul Harris called Simple Switch. 2 cards held at the fingertips fly back and forth, barely missing each other and you catch them in the opposite hand from where they started. It's actually a cool little routine he did using the move. In Paul's book, he states that it may be the single most difficult flourish there is. (Of course, this is long before we heard of De'Vo or the Buck twins.) I think that points out that David does have quite a bit of technical ability. But in my opinion, in his last few specials, I haven't seen it.
Chris SD
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Quote:
On 2006-12-25 08:29, pepka wrote:
In Paul's book, he states that it may be the single most difficult flourish there is.


Now, I'm not sure, this move may have been published long before the Art of Astonishment was even in production, but I've seen quite a few people execute the simple switch well, and I have yet to see (in person) an adequate curly-cue move.

Just my .02 cents.

And for all of the people in here talking about how his performance skills are really what's important, the topic is not about his perfoming ability, it is about his technical skill as a sleight of hand artist with cards.
MagicMan001
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It's all about respect, of course as a magician people are going to say he sucks or whatever, but I've always believed in respecting fellow Magi. Weather they are new, or old timers. I really don't care if I can do a side steal better than some guy on TV, or whatever. Blaine did bring on a whole era of Magic fans into the craft and make it popular again.
Vogler
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Quote:
On 2006-12-25 07:51, MagicMan001 wrote:
Who cares really, bottom line is, He's a smart business man who is making millions meanwhile lots of people who make no money at all in magic are sitting back judging him, their opinions mean nothing.


this is how you see art of magic..just for money.. And if you success there you are a good performer?
We all know actors and singers and directors gain success with bad work.
If this is your climax of values then ok
Mano
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Juliano,

I agree with you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Mano.
Cain
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Quote:
On 2006-12-25 11:40, Juliano wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-12-25 07:51, MagicMan001 wrote:
Who cares really, bottom line is, He's a smart business man who is making millions meanwhile lots of people who make no money at all in magic are sitting back judging him, their opinions mean nothing.


this is how you see art of magic..just for money.. And if you success there you are a good performer?
We all know actors and singers and directors gain success with bad work.
If this is your climax of values then ok


So wait, you're saying Michael Bay, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and McG are not the talented recording artists and film directors their commercial success implies. Aside from the fact David Blaine is a cultural icon, the money he has made proves he towers over magicians of old (Vernon, Marlo, Miller) as well as today (Ricky Jay, Lennart Green, and so on).

Also, as for Blaine's skills, it goes without saying that we only see what is shown to us in the video. Nobody knows how many times he flubbed, or received less than impressive reactions; or, for that matter, technical difficulties such as poor camera angles, sound quality, etc., which would make an otherwise good performance unwatchable.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2006-12-24 20:51, S2000magician wrote:
When his first TV special came out - years ago - the next day all of the magic fora were abuzz about how awful his technique was.

They were watching the wrong thing.

As magicians, we shouldn't care about his technique; we should study the reactions of his audience - which were extremely positive - and determine how we (with our incredibly good technique) can generate reactions in our audiences on the same scale.

That said, to answer the question you posed, and to put it in the proper context, I was surprised how poor his technique was on some effects (the Invisible Deck springs to mind); however, I've never seen another of his specials after the first.


Many would claim Heba Haba Al had horrid technique. They may be right. THE difference in the 2 is David has a personality that few actually "get". I personally don't "get it" either. But I do "get he is trying to do something. The technique is not the thing to watch is right.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2006-12-25 12:42, Cain wrote:
. . . the money he has made proves he towers over magicians of old (Vernon, Marlo, Miller) as well as today (Ricky Jay, Lennart Green, and so on).

It proves nothing of the sort. Did Vernon, Marlo, Miller try to earn the money that Blaine's earned? Have Ricky Jay and Lennart Green? Did any of them have his opportunities?

Your analysis is way off-base here.
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