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David Blaine: Where's the Magic?


David Blaine: Where's the Magic?

Has David Blaine given up on magic? Or, is Blaine, by necessity, focusing on endurance stunts solely because it’s the only way he feels that he can stay relevant-something he can’t do with magic alone? Some thoughts after his recent Thanksgiving gyro stunt.

When Blaine first hit the scene with his network television specials, most magicians, and virtually no one in the public had heard of him. Blaine successfully pioneered a new way of presenting magic on TV by performing close-up magic and recording the wild reactions of spectators. His early shows were filled with close-up magic effects (these exploits can be viewed online and on his DVD, “Fearless”).

Promotional Stunts
Early on, Blaine realized that he could promote his shows and receive lots of coverage by performing a stunt. At first, the stunts promoted Blaine and the network special, but later, about the time that Blaine encased himself in a block of ice, a transformation occurred. The stunt became the focus of the show, and in the show itself, there were only a few magic segments.

Since then, Blaine has stood on top of a 100-foot tall pole for 35 hours; starved himself for 44-days while suspended in a plexiglass box over the Thames river in England (a feat that I think hurt his image) and this past spring, resided in a giant fish bowl and tried to break the world record for holding one’s breath. After his recent gyroscope stunt, Blaine was quoted by Reuters as saying “I’m always trying to come up with something and I try to create something that I think would be visually different."

Add Some Magic
While I appreciate the fact that Blaine continues to stay relevant in the public’s mind, I think that he’s given up on magic far too soon.

With a little magic, Blaine’s gyro stunt could have been stunning. From all reports, while the gyro created an event with lots of coverage, the escape itself wasn’t spectacular. But imagine the public’s reaction if the gyro had been momentarily covered with a cloth and Blaine vanished and was found in the Target store.

Mr. Blaine, don’t give up on the magic.

-Wayne N. Kawamoto

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