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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » Blaine's Secret Intelligence Operations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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daffydoug
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I really like David Blaine. I wouldn't say I'm a Blaineaholic, but I really do enjoy watching his performances.

I also have his dvd. I watch it often. But what really baffles me is not the tricks themselves, as the fact that he is somehow secretly performing some kind of covert operations. Or so it seems. that's the only conclusion I can draw.

I'm speaking about the time when he supposedly doesn't know any bodys name, and suddenly, the name will appear on his arm, or on a taxi cab, or in another case, the image of the guys girlfriend appears on Blaines stomach.

This is information that you wouldn't think he could obtain about strangers on the street that he supposedly just met.

But my magicians logic tells me that he must have obtained the vital info SOMEHOW.

Any guesses on how he does it? You would think he has some kind of secret intelligence gathering team on his side.

But, to tell you the truth, I don't know, and can only conjecture.

I think that these things have really helped him to establish himself and cement his reputation. I think they are the most baffling effects in his shows.

What are your thoughts on this?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Reis O'Brien
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I do like Blaine, but some of these things are rather suspect. As far as the above example goes, I honestly think that was a completely fictitious bit. These guys, or at least the main spec, was a stooge. They hooked up with him earlier, got a pic of his girlfriend, made a "tattoo" of the pic and said, "Ok... now bring some of your friends to this street corner and play along. Here's a hundred bucks."
Granted, I don't know this for sure, but that's what immediately came to mind when I saw it. After hearing about his style of showing his levitations, I now believe that he isn't above some deep tv trickery. I also think his book, although I loved reading it, is far from honest.
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daffydoug
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I haven't purchased the book nor had access to read it, but what you said about the guy in the gap commercial, well, that speaks volumes.

If it is true as your theory explains, then he is setting up alot of his emulators up for disapointment. They will probably never be that lucky to run into those kind of fortuitous situations on the real streets.

This kind of effect has little possibility of being performed by anyone else but Blaine. He made it seem so impromptu, and therein lies the deception. This shows that the man is cunning beyond words.

BUT isn't that what we are suppose to do as magicians?: Use all the cunning at our disposal to create miracles in the minds of spectators?

We are supposed to DECEIVE! That is the heart of magic!

Who are we to say that one of our own has "crossed the line" because he was devilishly cunning and clever in his approach? Is their really any such thing as cheating for a magician? Isn't this a war for the spectators mind, and in war, all is fair!

I remember an article by Juan Tamirez (SP) that I read in Genii and believe I still have. He outlined suggestions and ideas and bold ruses to deceive the spectator! Some of these were pretty darned diabolical, and none of them very fair (To the spectator that is!)

If it's good enough for Juan Tamirez, then it shouild be good enough for all of us, Blaine included.

If he used a stooge in some effects, the effect was that it fooled the pantd off of me. I felt amazement. I experienced that rare moment of astonishment that becomes harder and harder for me to experience the more years I'm in magic. So then, it worked. It accomplished the "Effect" in my mind. and I'm sorry, for I think I've slightly gotten off my own topic.
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Scott Xavier
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The book was very far from the truth. A cool read but still far from the truth.

Stooges and heavy pre-show work.
Frank Tougas
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I think the real point here is we are not watching street magic but a show about magic in the street. A television show is a show unto itself, it must have pacing, drama, etc. All the elements of good entertainment.

Naturally that means cutting out the fluffs and bloopers, enhancing an effect for the viewers (who are after all the real audience) and yes even some camera shenanagins! Horrors.

The point is that David Blane did what Henning did the generation before and that was to get a whole new group of people interested in magic.

Every working performer can be grateful for that.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Scott Xavier
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And every non-working performer can blame the audiences preconceived notions of a bad magician with no personality on Blainiacs.
daffydoug
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Frank, your remarks are right on target and sympathetic to what I myself have been thinking: Think of it this way: Blaine was financially backed by his producers to produce an hour of T.V that would get the almighty ratings. That's the bottom line in that industry, Just ratings.

He had to please the producers and was willing, in my opinion, to really push the envelope to create "effects" that would kill. It was not about honesty in depicting what goes on in the streets for magicians, rather, it was about producing a final product that was visually arresting and above all lucrative.

(This is all my conjecture, but I am very certain I am perspicacious enough to come to a conclusion that is amazingly accurate.)

This, as I said, was all for the money, and the producers, I'm sure, could have cared less what methods or ruses Blaine used to achieve the end result. Camera tricks, stooges, dubious editing, cranes to lift you four feet into the air, whatever, if it looked like magic to the T.V. audience, then it was fair game.

That is why things happen that are so unrealistic. Chosen cards appearing in basketballs, names appearing on taxi cabs, playing cards appearing in a policeman's boot, girlfriends ghostly images appearing on his stomach, and on and on the list goes.

Let's be realistic, you and I have little chance to make this stuff happen "spontaneously", on the spur of the moment, but that is sure the impression these shows convey.

Folks, it's not real, it's a fantasy world, and it takes time and money to set up these one shot wonders.

But if you are not in the know, then they come off as genuine miracles.

Blaine accomplished his goals, so I say all the more power to him.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
illuzns
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Just a short note. Blaine has brought street magic to a new (albeit incredibly unreachable)level. He has focused the attention of the everyday lay person into the realm of magic.

That said, I too do not necessarily agree with EVERY method which Blaine has used in his shows, but he has helped Magic as a whole in bringing attention to the close-up workers instead of the constant bombardment of large illusion shows on TV.

He's good and credit should be given where it is due.
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Reis O'Brien
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Many many good points being made here. I'm not knocking Blaine for doing what it takes to make a good tv special. My only problem is that I feel bad for these young kids who think what he's doing on tv is real, and so they start to learn magic and then later end up disapointed when they see the real man behind the curtain.

And then we come to the concept of going too far. All magicians know that there is a point in any routine or effect that will stretch credibility to its limits. And I think the ghostly-girlfriend-face effect is a fine example of taking it too far. When I first saw that special, before I got into magic, I was blown away over and over again. But I remember seeing that bit with the girlfriend's face and thinking, "Oh, give me a break!" See? I was a layman, and even I couldn't fall for that one.

But, giving credit where it is due, those specials are also the reason I got into magic, so Blaine still gets props from me! I just take him with a few more grains of salt now.
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Mike Walton
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Quote:
On 2004-02-03 15:01, Firedice27 wrote:
Many many good points being made here. I'm not knocking Blaine for doing what it takes to make a good tv special. My only problem is that I feel bad for these young kids who think what he's doing on tv is real, and so they start to learn magic and then later end up disapointed when they see the real man behind the curtain.



Good points Firedice. I think if a magician "does his job" then people will think it's real. I feel bad when I do Ambitious Card for a 6 year old (have them draw on the card and this trick works perfectly) and they then truly believe a snap will bring their magic card to the top of the deck. They truly believe that...am I wrong to frame the effect as such? I don't think so, as a little astonishment adds life.

I don't think Blaine's use of stooges, intelligence, etc. is wrong at all. Besides, it's TV, and we know that information over this medium isn't meant to be accurate, only engaging.
daffydoug
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Hey, fellas, I'm not trying to convey the impression that I don't like Blaine, because I do! Read my original post at the beginning of the thread, and you will see.

I have been just as astonished at the the effects as anyone else. But in the end, I come to my senses, my magicians thinking kicks in, and I lose the astonishment and start drawing some conclusions.

In fact, I was just trying to convey what I conjecture is going on behind the scenes to create the illusionary world that we view on our T.V. screens.

I don't see anything wrong with him pushing the envelope, as long as it produces the end result of amazement.

We should all be so cunning and crafty as him, and our magic would be significantly better for it.

He employs Machiavellian strategies and succeeds wildly in his efforts. For that I applaud him.


The more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that he is devilishly clever. he gives the word deceitful new meaning. And that, to me, makes a good magician.

That is why I said "All the more power to him"

I believe a few magicians are jealous of him. That is a small way to live.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
EventEntertainer
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What I do not understand is why did he use plants (yes, I happen to know this fact), when 99% of the effect he did could be done in an impromptu setting?

ON another note, what does Blaine call himself these days. He isn't really a magician (when is the last time you saw him do any kind of magic trick)? An artist? Performer?
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Frank Tougas
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I believe he fancies himself as a magician that does performance art. Melding the two.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
tophat
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Quote:
names appearing on taxi cabs

For the record, this was just pure coincidence. Or at least, it says so in his book.
Mario Morris
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Gazzo, Cerline are the top street buskers.
But as for Blaine, I have been selling the tricks he bought for years. Now thankfully I am asked all day long, "Do you know how he bit the coin? Yeah, sure for $30 pound please, you can do it too. What about the rising card? Yeah, sure. $10."

He has done well to make magic and himself popular. He has made his fortunes through the streets, but not while on the street. The guy is good at what he does, which is self promoting. He has made magic popular, but as for passing the hat, the noble task of entertaining and making you laugh and then parting with your well earned cash, you have to leave that to the buskers at the shopping mall near you. Until you taste the open air stage as you step out to entertain, you don't know really what I am talking about.
The difference between Blaine and a busker is the difference between The Spice Girls and Bob Dillon.
The Spice Girls made their millions; Bob Dillon is in the heart and sung by every other busker.
The only ones that can make a true judgement on Blaine as a street magi I believe are buskers. Blaine as a performer, if he turns you on great.
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daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2004-02-03 19:15, tophat wrote:
Quote:
names appearing on taxi cabs

For the record, this was just pure coincidence. Or at least, it says so in his book.


No way! I can never bring myself to believe that was pure coincidence! He HAD to set it up! I think he is asking A LOT if he thinks we are going to believe it was nothing but a coincidence! I smell a rat!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
ABlair36
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I am pretty sure those were stooges as well as a lot of his televised tricks.

Does anyone know the name of the trick that he does where he shows a card, puts it back on the deck, and puts the card between the audence member's hands. Then he shows the next top card, puts it back on the deck, waves the top card over the audience member's hands and the cards switch places. I know how it is done but I don't know what it is called.
Can anyone tell me the name of the effect?
CLJ
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Here Then There. or Eddie Fechter's Simple Two-Card Transposition? Can't remember if both are the same, I know the popularised name is Here then There. Coined from Card College.
"Watch this, you ready now? Watch this, watch, watch, watch, watch now, watch closely, watch this, you watching now? Watch, watch..." - David Blaine
daffydoug
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The effect is two card monte.
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Mike Walton
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The single card transposition between the hand sandwich and the deck is Here then There. I'll use it to grab someone's attention as it's so simple and magical.

Two card monte is 2 cards switching with 2 other cards with more patter and misdirection.
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