Archive for the ‘David Blaine’ Category

The Blaine Chronicles: Two new David Blaine street magic specials to air Sunday

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

David Blaine as featured in a street magic TV showIt’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new David Blaine special, much less two. While these two shows, scheduled to air Sunday on The Travel Channel don’t promise new footage, they do promise unseen footage in a documentary style:

  • 8 p.m.: “David Blaine: Beautiful Struggle.” This show promises a glimpse into the inspiration behind David Blaine’s stunts and feats of endurance. According to a post on his Facebook fan page, this special has been called the best of all of them, because it shares a deeper, more personal look at the man. Maybe we magicians will finally get a good answer to the question, “Why do you do the stunts instead of the magic?”
  • 9 p.m.: “David Blaine: Discover Magic.” This is the one we REALLY want to see — it’s a collection of David Blaine’s magic through the years, including the first tape he shot. It documents Blaine’s evolution as a magician, including his first children’s parties, his teen years and independently shooting the TV special that redefined street magic and — let’s be honest, here — opened the door for a new, powerful kind of close-up magic.

The two new shows will be preceded by a marathon of all his other magic specials. Here’s the teaser:

Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit-selling sellouts? Not quite

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

We’re going to pre-emptively snuff a spark before an issue becomes a fire — now that David Blaine is involved, this issue is likely to get debates going on magic forums worldwide.

Surely, you’ve seen the Mindfreak magic kits. Available from the ads on TV and from nationwide retailers, the kits feature a slew of street magic effects for beginners, intermediates and the “most advanced mystifier,” including several we are all familiar with. You can get “platinum” and “ultimate” kits — some include one of Angel’s levitations, and the kits also come with instructional DVDs.

Also causing some controversy is this kit featuring Ed Alonzo. Some, including’s respected resident magician Wayne Kawamoto, have argued that the kit’s head twister is so poorly made that it is tantamount to exposure. Roland Henning, the chief of Weekly Magic Failure, goes a step further and calls Alonzo a sell out. (Yeah, Roland gets angry when we don’t send him free cards, but we still like him and his site.)

Now David Blaine is getting involved. in September spread the news that the street magic legend is releasing three new gaff decks. The decks are Blaine’s take on a stripper, Svengali and marked deck, but the key words in the story: “They are U.S. Playing Card Co. products that are being released to the general public.” Blaine has a publicity tour planned to talk about the decks, and they should be available sometime after Oct. 31 wherever Bicycle cards are sold.

So is the world falling apart for magicians? Does the appearance of magic’s biggest current stars on products meant for the masses mean we will have no secrets left? Are Blaine, Angel and Alonzo SELL-OUTS?

Chill. Take a deep breath, practice your pass. Take these two bullet points, and call us in the morning:

  • All these kits appear to be filled with gimmicked magic tricks that have been in mass markets for ages. Take that Mindfreak kit: From the sales page, it looks like he’s put his presentational feel on effects that my stepkid already has. The serious secrets of sleight of hand appear to remain intact.
  • But even if one of those 500 Mindfreaks happens to be a solid technique for a pass, remember: People like to watch US, not magic tricks. Even though these gimmicked decks have been available in mass markets, we know pros who still kill with them because they put the work, effort and practice into a truly convincing performance. The same goes for sleight of hand.

This won’t be the last time a magician makes it big enough to use his image to market magic products. Magic has been just fine ever since. So get out there and perform already. That’s what people want to see.

Esquire staffers learn card trick from Blaine

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Fresh on the tails of yesterday’s Esquire pic, Dodd Vickers of Magic Newswire spotted this video of David Blaine teaching a magic trick to staff at Esquire magazine. Blaine has taught a few tricks before, but this is the best explanation of a trick he performs that we’ve seen.

The vid is pretty cool, and presents an interesting trick, but if you watch all the way through the end (there’s some outtakes attached) and look at the related videos, you can find a few more performances for the staff. Good stuff.

Blaine’s upside-down efforts assist with picture

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Photographer Michael Lavine (who has an incredible portfolio) has posted some interesting commentary about a recent pic of David Blaine for Esquire magazine.

The street magic legend was photographed upside-down in order to snag this incredible shot (click after the jump to see the full image). Lavine wrote in his blog that at first Blaine didn’t think the idea would work, but after seeing the setup and preparation, said the shot could be done in five tries. Writes Lavine:

Let’s just say that David has a “strong personality” and I had to use every trick in the photographic Jujitsu playbook to make it through the day. It’s incredibly physically demanding to hang upside down and I do have to give it to David for delivering a command performance.

It did take five tries, although the money shot happened on the third. Afterward, Blaine blew their minds with a few card tricks. Blaine earned his reputation for hanging upside-down during 2008’s Dive of Death.

Bullets: Fisher’s ‘Engine’ session, Blaine’s stunt, Mindfreak’s next season, Letterman features magic

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Justin Robert Young over at iTricks is the man. He gives this blog and others credits and links for breaking the occasional story, but we don’t see anyone else giving him props for the stories he breaks three times as often. Dude put two and two together for a couple of biggies this week:

  • We don’t know about you, but we know where we’ll be on Saturday: Glued to our monitors. Aaron Fisher will be joined by Wayne Houchin and Steve Johnson for a special session about the book “The Paper Engine.” According to an e-mail, the free session should have plenty of time for questions and comments. The session starts at 12 p.m. Pacific on Saturday at (we’ll post a more accurate link closer to the session).
  • David Blaine was featured in this great interview with Interview Magazine. A bunch of people have forwarded this to me, but iTricks spotted the golden quote — namely, what Blaine’s final stunt will likely be. Although he isn’t forgetting about sleep deprivation, he plans to cross an ocean in a glass bottle. We suspect that the interviewer didn’t know the value of that quote.
  • Criss Angel’s Mindfreak will return to the A&E Network for a sixth season. iTricks made the connection that it would keep the hourlong format, although there was speculation otherwise.
  • We love Dodd Vickers over at the Magic Newswire, as well. That’s where we read that David Letterman is hosting a close-up magic week. We’re talking appearances from Steve Cohen, John Carney, Johnny “Ace” Palmer, Jason Randal and Michael Ammar. Consider us geeked. Guess Ellen DeGeneres is starting to get more influential than Oprah.