Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Project 365 (193/365): David Blaine

.:195/365: David Blaine:.

Warning: graphic video ahead!

Ladies and gentlemen, we cap this month off with the very man who brought magic into the mainstream in the new millennium, David Blaine.

As one of the most recognizable names in magic today, David Blaine definitely deserves a lot of credit for having resurrected magic in a way that nobody dreamed possible: he made magic cool. And by “cool,” I don’t just mean “cool to watch.” I mean that thanks to Blaine, performing magic has never seemed cooler than now.

With a very diverse bloodline, David Blaine’s unique looks lent itself well to the “mysterious stranger” persona he has met a lot of success with. What few people realize though was that starting out, David Blaine was actually your typical chatty magician. Lo and behold, witness what a good image consultant can do for you, eh?

Starting his career as a TV street magician in 1997, David Blaine has starred in multiple TV specials where he demonstrated his effective style at magic. Nobody would say that he shook the world up with his routines, but he made them seem gritty, edgy, and in doing so, real. By removing the gap of the stage between the audience and the magician, David Blaine has captured the imagination of the people by doing magic that is every bit in-your-face. Using a very deliberate pace, and a calm, gentle tone, Blaine managed to convey that he was the real deal to all the spectators he encounters by sheer strength of personality.

As Blaine went by, he began incorporating a lot of endurance feats in his magic specials, so as to give the audience something big to look forward to, and to gain even more publicity than one normally would in performing a TV magic special. With an excellent team behind him, and Blaine’s undeniable physical fitness, he has weathered a whole slew of different endurance feats that seem to prove without a doubt that Blaine is more than just a guy who does “tricks”, but someone with remarkable gifts that cannot just be explained as mere sleight of hand.

To be honest, Blaine isn’t a stranger to controversy either, whether with people who expose his magic, or even those who doubt the veracity of his physical feats, but through it all, David Blaine has inspired an entire generation of magicians, arguably more than any other magician before him ever has, if only for the sheer reach of his mileage at present. Would people say he is a better magician than the Copperfields, the Blackstones, and the Houdinis of our time? Probably not. But would they say he ranks way up there as one of the most influential magicians the mainstream has ever encountered? Without a doubt, he certainly fits that bill, and it could be argued that as far as influencing people to get into magic, he may very well hold claim to having garnered the most converts. Pretty much every single guy who has started doing street magic since 1997 would probably owe their roots to David Blaine’s influence, more than anyone else.

That Blaine performs mostly simple routines tends to underscore the fact that magic isn’t about how simple or complex a routine is but about the way one packages a performance. Blaine is a living testament to this, and nobody can deny that his presence tends to give a kind of ominous aura to any kind of magic he does, even if it’s as simple as a 2-card monte.

Personally, I wasn’t really influenced by Blaine into getting into magic, simply because I was into magic all the way back from the days that David Copperfield was still wowing audiences with his TV specials. Despite that, I have to tip my hat to Mr. Blaine because if it wasn’t for him, the demand for magicians would probably remain restricted to Vegas and children’s parties to this day. Mr. Blaine, thanks for making magic cool. We owe you for that, big time.

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