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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ New to magic? Ľ Ľ David Blaine Question... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dennis Michael
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This whole discussion on Blaine is amazing. Heís a good "pitch" man doing what he likes to do. His costume, manner, and approach fits the times and his age and personality.



Like Rap Music, either you like David or not. Itís not everyoneís cup of tea, as the expression goes.



The question was once asked to me many years ago, which Magician is better, Copperfield or Henning? To that question I could go on for hours. Each had a different style, stage presence, orginality, and approach to entertaining the audience.



David is making money, he is well known, and we honor him by this discussion furthering his career. Accept it and move on.

Be yourself!



Smile



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Peter Marucci
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Gonz writes: "But whatever it is (Blaineís) doing, it has appealed to the masses and THAT can only be a good thing for magic."



Well, not really.



After all, Hitler appealed to the masses, too.



For awhile.



The argument is flawed, just as the suggestion that I should get my own TV special!



If that was what I did, then that would be the right answer. But itís not and it isnít.



I might reply that, if Blaine were really all that good, then he would get himself a column in the Linking Ring and share his knowledge.



But that hasnít happened either!



Go figure.



cheers,

Peter Marucci

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Scott F. Guinn
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I will say this: the Blaine specials have brought up the topic of magic amongst the public--at least near the times of their showings--which MAY have helped to garner me an extra show or two, due to the increased awareness. However, at least here in the "backward" state of Idaho, people who bring up the subject of Blaine with me have been overwhelmingly negative:



"It's like the guy expects me to believe he has real powers! If he did, he wouldn't be begging people on the street to watch him do a trick!"



"I think the tricks were gross!"



"If some guy approached ME on the street like that, he'd be introduced to my buddies, Smith and Wesson!"



Please note that these are not MY remarks, but quotes from people who've broached the subject with me. When asked at my restaurant gig, for example, if I can resurrect a fly or swallow a string and pull it out of my navel, I respond, "Well, yeah, but that's typically not the sort of thing people want to see in a restaurant!"



Personally, I'm not that impressed with the guy. But then again, I'm sure he's not that impressed with me!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Stephen Long
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Nuff said.

I donít think Blaine is a great magician by any means. But I respect what he is trying to do. And to some extent has done.

Peter - we disagree.

Although, far be it from me to abstain from taking the final word, may I just say that your argument of comparing a man who wanted world domination and a super race of human beings to a street magician performing a few card tricks, is also slightly flawed.

I respect your opinion, though, and see where you are coming from.

Gonz

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clunk_71
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So it`s now apparent that it's not just us folks over here in England that look upon "Stairy Blain" with a little contempt.



I think all the views posted are relevant and I don`t want anybody to think I'm against him or what he does. But, quite frankly, I think his mannerism and approach are awful. I`ve seen lollipops with more personality than he's got.



And if he's so self assured and confident of his abilities, why would he get his production team to hire the services of a top hollywood actor to lie on his program about how well he spontaneously levitates in the street? Surely this is an act to make the layman think he has more credibility than he actually has. Smile WOW, talk about low self esteem or what?



But also it obviously works well for him or he wouldn't still be at it would he?!



The problem is, he is now starting to show his face over here in England on a more frequent occasion.



WHY?



Is there something somebody is not telling us or is he planning another magical miracle

(just like standing on a telegraph pole or shut in an ice cube)?



Please divulge...



leepalmer@orange.net Smile
Best regards, Lee
leepalmer@orange.net

Only do what your good at....and then everything you do looks good
Peter Marucci
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Aw, shucks, Gonz, take the final word! Smile

And, yes, my comparison with Hitler was, indeed, over the top; I realized that as soon as I posted it.

We may (and do, on this) disagree but that's what makes the Cafe such a great spot: We can do this without going absolutely nuts about it!

As you point out, this is, after all, a "raging debate" about -- card tricks!

Hardly on the scale of ending world hunger!

cheers,

Peter Marucci

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Stephen Long
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Respect.

:dance:
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vovin
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David Blane is nothing exceptional, I just saw his T.V. special and itís not very impressive at all, his uncle is an executive of a major network and in truth I have seen street magicians with better tricks than him. Smile

Quote:

On 2001-12-22 15:53, Bernard Sim wrote:

I agree with Peter on this one, especially "Fraudulent camera tricks". Can a person really levitate with both feet off the ground in the open without camera tricks? Hmmm...



Yes, you can, Several engineers and I, created a way of doing this, that is both simple and amazing, and there are no wires, in fact the audience can strip you naked and not find a thing, I donít know if this was how David did it but it can be done, and after you have seen the way it is done, itís like aww man why didnít I think of that.

I can levitate at about 7 inches for 10-15 seconds with this trick.

David is all about Hollywood you donít have to be the best to be on T.V.
DoctorAmazo
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My best is 1.3 seconds, but I have to jump really high.... Smile
magicpirate82
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Iíve got to tell you, this debate is always fascinating to me. It always seems to generate such "heated discussions."

Iíd take issue with Peterís definition of success in this context. And even though I have read your column Peter, for the same reasons you outline, Iím not sure thatís the best measure either. The bottom line for me, and perhaps ONLY for me - is that Blaine is an entertainer, and by commercial standards apparently a successful one (at least he was!). Now we all go to movies and watch actors perform that those in the acting community would say are the WORST actors, no skills, no polish, no etc. but many of us are still entertained by that actor or at least the perfomance. In fact, I usually find the movies most hated by the film critics to be the ones I prefer. Weíre not always looking for deep intellectual meaning and satisfaction in our movie viewing, sometimes we just like a little "bubble gum for the brain," to quote a friend.

Blaine does entertain, regardless of how proficient a magician you think he is. And he did introduce a certain "hipness," which I found refreshing after seeing the countless gyrations, bad music, leggy showgirls, and corny jokes that seems to be the norm.

Now, for the record, I think Blaine is a pretty average magician but he is a "showman" in his own context. And the fact that he can generate such angst in the magic community I think is akin to the feelings we in the corporate world get when Joe Blow got that promotion or raise that we really know we should have gotten, being much more qualified and all! Smile


Smile
P T Flea
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I am fairly new to magic and apart from agreeing about the camera 'cutting and shutting' sequences (which I was fairly disappointed to see as it undermines his skill) I think that Blaine is getting a bit of a slating that he doesn't really deserve.

Quote:
On 2001-12-18 13:41, Peter Marucci wrote:

But alot more donít like him for other, legitimate reasons:

Total lack of performance skills.

Bad magic.

Fraudulent camera tricks.

Offensive demeanor.


And on and on.

I think (having watched his material) describing Blaine as having 'a total lack of performance skills' is a bit extremist. I probably wouldn't go that far about me and I'm fairly shocking.

As you probably know a bad trick can have a doubly good effect with a good performance. Blaine is pulling off relatively uncomplicated magic but get's an amazing reaction due to his 'spooky' presentation style. I think he does well to pull off this style. Most people would not have the guts to go for this approach.

As for 'Bad Magic' and 'Offensive Demeanor' I think that is an opinion shared by very few. I can't remember watching any of his shows thinking 'hmmm, that was a particularly bad piece of magic and I think the way he approached and delt with that spectator was very offensive'.
If anything Blaine has a very open and friendly demeanor. He tries to get the lay person as interested as possible in what he is showing them and invites them to watch closely and tries to involve everyone when working in front of large groups of people.

In conclusion, his magic is accessible to all. Sufficiently impressive and well practiced tricks to impress the magic veterans but also understandable enough to allow beginners to associate and learn what he is doing.


Smile
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bad judgement.
Mark Ennis
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I really haven't been able to sit thorough either special for more than 5 minutes. Personally I think there are far better close up guys that should get their own specials over David Blaine. Then again, they could have done much worse.

One of the best compliments I got from a layperson was that I was "way better than David Blaine". to a magician, they would probably be like "Well of course" but to a layperson, being better than someone they admire is an incredible compliment.

I also think that David Blaine made it cool to do close up magic.

I don't hate him but he is not my favorite magician.
ME
Peter Marucci
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P T Flea writes: "Blaine is pulling off relatively uncomplicated magic but gets an amazing reaction due to his 'spooky' presentation style."

And how many dozens of reactions end up on the film editor's floor because they are far from amazing?

Sorry, but Blaine lacks presentation skill, any sense of theatre, dramatic ability, and on and on.

His appeal is mainly with wannabe magicians who, I fear, think that duplicating his lack of style will pave their road to success.

It ain't gonna happen!

cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Brian Proctor
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Everyone has their own opinions. That's why we have this board. God bless and take care everyone. Smile Smile
Tom Cutts
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I accept Peter's description from one standpoint. Blaine is not entertaining without his stunts and tricks. This he has proven.

But to say he lacks any sense of theatre or dramatic ability is overlooking that his drama is derived from the aridness of his presentation. The pure quality of another person reacting to the effect of magic entering their life. It engages those who want to believe. Judging from the size of the psychic market that group is rather large.

No dancing girls. No yuks for the sake of "entertainment". No tuxes. No stories. No kiddie gag tricks. No sucker tricks. No slapstick. No bad puns. No put downs of his audience. None of the stereotypical magician fare.

Blaine has distanced himself from the glitzy magic boys by veritably eradicating all standard presentation. The focus is all on the magical event.

Face it. People yawned when Copperfield floated across the Grand Canyon. They admiringly applauded when he so artfully flew on that far removed stage.

Blaine rose four inches and became a god for a year. His style is very engaging to a large number of people.

It would appear, however, that it is not terribly meaningful to these people. Hence, the easing of his popularity.

His arid presentation is turning things around him a bit stale. Once you've seen it, there is nothing much more that he lets out. That, if anything, is his shortcoming.

Blaine's audience took the dramatic framing that he provided and gave it their own meaning at first. When they turned to him to see what it meant to him, he had little to offer.

Blaine's magic is very dramatically engaging at the moment of its happening. People so engaged will ask to know more...of you...of magic...of the world. If you have nothing to offer after "was this your card" then your audience will eventually tire of you.



Smile Smile Smile


PS I can understand Peter expecting more from an entertainer!
Steve Brooks
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Exactly. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Damion Corbett
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I have been interested in magic since a very early age but only got seriously into wanting to perform it after watching David Blaine perform on the Graham Norton show about 5 years ago.

That being said, when watching the show I was unaware of the concept of a double lift or a folding coin etc.

When I watched the show I was viewing it as a spectator and was completely blown away.
Since then I have gained a great knowledge of close up and card magic through books and from watching other magicians.

It took David's performance to get me interested in magic again and for that reason I can't speak negatively about him.

Ok, I have seen him interviewed and he comes across as a bit of a jerk. Also the magic that he performs is incredibly simple, utilizing gimmicks and basic sleights; but I think we are losing sight of what magic is all about. ... entertainment!

Magic is in the eye of the beholder, if the spectators are blown away by the magic then the magician has certainly accomplished his job and accomplished it well.

We are in the business of entertaining.
Watching the Street Magic special and not knowing much about magic at the time gave me an insight into what people want to see and what people are fooled by.

I was certainly gob smacked by some of the stuff that he did, and back then, I probably would have preferred to watch his magic (however simple) than somebody in a tuxedo performing tricks with complicated plots and cracking cheesy jokes.

David's magic is not meant for magicians, it is meant for the general public and if it entertains them then who are we to criticize.

He does what he does and lots of people enjoy it, let him get on with it.

Whoa, I'm going off on one againÖÖ I've got to go and take my medication.

Later.
Peter Marucci
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As Samuel Johnson said, 300 years ago, about the dancing dog:
"He doesn't have to dance well. It's amazing that he can dance at all!"

(BTW, a guy in a tuxedo doing complicated plots and cracking cheesy jokes is equally bad!)

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Tom Cutts
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Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

Nice one Centurian.

So, it sounds like there is a welling of agreement to some extent. Blaine's specials were entertaining (at first). The verdict is still out on David himself.
the_amazing_al
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I think we sometimes forget we are all somewhere on that invisible scale of horrible/ok/great as magicians.

Everyone here was a lousy magician at some point, and got better. I refuse to be an elitist magician and knock someone else's work. I have seen much worse than Blaine, and some much better.

I know that most "real" magicians have spent years reading books, honing skills, and doing it the hard way. Blaine did the same. I actually believe he's about as good as he's going to get. Some guys can't bluff a complex personna, and I think Blaine is one of them.

You get what you see, and on balance he does mystify folks. The bad vibes I have gotten from magicians seems mis-placed; Blaine is good for close-up magic, although I know that statement may stick in the craw of some magicians.

The previous statements are meant for mere entertainment; dance if there's room.
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