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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » David Blaine (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tom Cutts
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On Apr 27, 2018, ed rhodes wrote:
I read the fly thing was actually a classic magician (Blackstone Sr.?) who was frustrated that he could never figure out a way to show it to a large scale audience.

It’s a very old bit, and probably not just among magicians.
Dannydoyle
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While I do not particularly enjoy his style, I certainly admire what he has accomplished.

Also sewing how lips shut sort of plays into his personality and presentation in general. All he couldn't do is mumble "check this out", so he didn't lose much.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mary Mowder
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LOL

-Mary
lynnef
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Blaine also does the trick of tearing off a bird's head and replacing it. This trick is VERY old, going back to ancient Egypt. Lynn
luckyram
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On Apr 27, 2018, landmark wrote:
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He is not a very good magician. Never has been.


In some respects, I agree with this; but what David has done is to make himself a category separate from "magician." If you want to hire a magician, there are many options. But if you want a "David Blaine," then you have to hire him. He has carved a very specific niche for himself that audiences enjoy, and for a working performer, that's everything.


Exactly....Houdini is known by the majority of the public as almost a brand name and is the name that would probably come up first if asked to name the greatest magician (which is absolutely amazing since his heyday was almost 100 years ago). Today, I'm sure you might get a few "Copperfields" or
Penn & Teller" but I'd bet most would still say Houdini. Point is, Houdini was not a greatly skilled technical magician in term of sleight of hand nor was he even the best of his time....Thurston, Kellar, Soo, Herrmann, etc (what we would call & appreciate as "great magicians") were all better than him yet pretty much no one today knows who they are. Also, Houdini was primarily known & remembered for escape acts/stunts (straight jacket) and the water torture illusion. He has stayed in the public consciousness because he was an original as well as a fantastic performer and showman.

I'm hot & cold on Blaine...I like the attention he brings to magic and there is no doubt he's got his own "thing" going on which he makes work for him. Yet, some of his stunts are stupid.... but they usually garner much press coverage and attention. So, like it or not, he is a "showman" in the mold of Houdini - an original who has his own niche & creates ongoing interest in his act and, more importantly, magic.

IMO, some who are very critical of him are envious that he is able to get so much attention and publicity.... jealous that either they possess more technical skill or magic knowledge than him but can't find the popularity he has.

I'll leave you with this....over the weekend I was at local (non-magic) gathering. Before I brought it up (I intended to ask) someone asked if anyone saw "Jimmy Fallon the other night" - some had and started saying how crazy Blaine was and talking about the act. That of course led to people who didn't looking it up on their phones and watching it (some in groups) with the resultant shocked & awed reactions. Publicity, attention and a reaction most (even well known magicians) would kill for. So, it doesn't really matter what those "in the know" think of him....he is thought of by the everyday public as a magician - one who is able to create a reaction in them and interest them time & again.
lynnef
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I'm not so quick to pass judgement on Houdini's sleight of hand... nor on Blaine's. Nor would I claim escape illusions are in a separate category apart from 'magic'. Many magicians of the past who specialized in cards, also went on to larger stage effects. Houdini at one time was the King of Cards, but the only evidence we really see is an old 1926 clip of him doing some card manipulations. However, we do learn of his card throwing etc from other sources. Recently, I was reading about John Maskelyne, born a half century before Harry, who specialized in levitations, the metamorphosis trick, escapes, debunking spiritualists... oh, and card cheats. I guess it's a pretty old tradition of both showmanship and magic too. That said, I kind of agree with Danny Doyle about not particularly enjoying Blaine's style..ESPECIALLY the bullet catch. However, one can admire what he's accomplished. Lynn
Dannydoyle
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Also just so it is said one can dislike or be critical of him without being jealous or envious. That idea is incredibly flawed.

People are allowed to have opinions that do not result from those things.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
luckyram
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On Apr 30, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
Also just so it is said one can dislike or be critical of him without being jealous or envious. That idea is incredibly flawed.

People are allowed to have opinions that do not result from those things.


Which is why I said "SOME"....and I don't think it's a flawed idea at all, nor one that can't be understood. There are many accomplished magicians whose skill is many times what Blaine's is but they have a fraction of his notoriety or popularity. Sure, we know who they are but they are mostly unknown to the general public. His contemporaries are Copperfield, Criss Angel, P&T and possibly Lance Burton. I'm very sure there are SOME who are (justifiably) envious that Blaine gets the attention & coverage that he does while they slave away at practicing and performing fantastic sleight of hand or illusions only to not garner much interest outside of other magicians.They aren't selling out big venues or being asked on Fallon, etc....I wouldn't blame them a bit for being envious.
landmark
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When talking about David Blaine's skill level, the question is skill in what?

The last time I looked at his Double Lifts, they seemed to be...imperfect.

But the lesson is, in order to be David Blaine, skill in executing a DL is less important (not unimportant, but less important) than other kinds of skills. The question is, can we identify those other skills and then learn from him?
Dannydoyle
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On Apr 30, 2018, luckyram wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 30, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
Also just so it is said one can dislike or be critical of him without being jealous or envious. That idea is incredibly flawed.

People are allowed to have opinions that do not result from those things.


Which is why I said "SOME"....and I don't think it's a flawed idea at all, nor one that can't be understood. There are many accomplished magicians whose skill is many times what Blaine's is but they have a fraction of his notoriety or popularity. Sure, we know who they are but they are mostly unknown to the general public. His contemporaries are Copperfield, Criss Angel, P&T and possibly Lance Burton. I'm very sure there are SOME who are (justifiably) envious that Blaine gets the attention & coverage that he does while they slave away at practicing and performing fantastic sleight of hand or illusions only to not garner much interest outside of other magicians.They aren't selling out big venues or being asked on Fallon, etc....I wouldn't blame them a bit for being envious.


Well you can certainty say you would be envious. What you can not do is tell us what others might be feeling. And that is of course why the idea is so flawed.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
luckyram
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On Apr 30, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 30, 2018, luckyram wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 30, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
Also just so it is said one can dislike or be critical of him without being jealous or envious. That idea is incredibly flawed.

People are allowed to have opinions that do not result from those things.


Which is why I said "SOME"....and I don't think it's a flawed idea at all, nor one that can't be understood. There are many accomplished magicians whose skill is many times what Blaine's is but they have a fraction of his notoriety or popularity. Sure, we know who they are but they are mostly unknown to the general public. His contemporaries are Copperfield, Criss Angel, P&T and possibly Lance Burton. I'm very sure there are SOME who are (justifiably) envious that Blaine gets the attention & coverage that he does while they slave away at practicing and performing fantastic sleight of hand or illusions only to not garner much interest outside of other magicians.They aren't selling out big venues or being asked on Fallon, etc....I wouldn't blame them a bit for being envious.


Well you can certainty say you would be envious. What you can not do is tell us what others might be feeling. And that is of course why the idea is so flawed.


But you, apparently, can tell us what others are not feeling, huh? - Think about it.
Dannydoyle
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No. I'm simply saying it is possible to be critical and not envious. Also saying you can not tell us others are for certain. Think about it.

You are the only one protecting emotions.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
lynnef
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On Apr 30, 2018, landmark wrote:
But the lesson is, in order to be David Blaine, skill in executing a DL is less important (not unimportant, but less important) than other kinds of skills. The question is, can we identify those other skills and then learn from him?


Good point, Jack! Altho he's more Vegas style now, in his early clips, imho Blaine showed a pretty good skill at busking on the street. Even if his sleights were imperfect, he was able to get it by with good eye contact, choice of non-celebrity spectators (note how he could play friends off of one another), patter, etc. I know these vids were edited, but I still think these types of skills are valuable! Lynn
TomBoleware
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I have always said, you can’t be like everybody else and be a superstar. The one thing they all have in common is that they all have nothing in common.
I can remember Blaine starting out and how the magicians talked about how bad he was and that he was nothing like a normal magician.Smile
Many could not understand why he got a TV special.

Talent is not always that easy to see. And at times talent seems to be worthless, or as Stephen King once said:

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Tom
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lynnef
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On May 1, 2018, TomBoleware wrote:

Talent is not always that easy to see. And at times talent seems to be worthless, or as Stephen King once said:

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Tom



I would add that luck or accident also plays a role, albeit a secondary one. Lynn
Dannydoyle
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With hard work, the lack of talent can often be made up for.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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"The harder I work, the luckier I seem to be."

Marketing is often the difference between being successful, and not, in my opinion.

There's plenty of brilliant artists and performers who've never seen the metaphoric light of day, because they don't know the business side of things.
Christopher
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Orville Smith
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What's impressive about Blaine is the dangerous stunts he does. For example when he ignites fire, his preparation consists of him actually drinking and swallowing kerosene beforehand. Both water and kerosene because after he spews out the kerosene to ignite the fire, he then spews out the water to extinguish. So he has the ability to regurgitate. And to develop the regurgitational ability, he had to undergo lots of training.
daffydoug
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Like him or hate him...from early on Blaine found what worked for Blaine. And it worked for him to the tune of lots of greenbacks flowing into his bank account..

We don't got to be him. But we got to find what works for us.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Dannydoyle
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I doubt it is as much money as you think.

As I have always said he must be doing something right because they keep asking him to do stuff. Good on him. I don't particularly enjoy his style but do enjoy his success. It is refreshing when someone starts out to be themselves and has the courage not to follow in the mold of what came before them.

He has spawned a lot of imitators and that in and of itself is annoying. But other than that I like to see him succeed.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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