One must love an article that begins thusly:
The first time I meet David Blaine, he is weird. Zoned out, distracted or high on something. It’s a private dinner in an upstairs room at a London hotel and he enters without small talk. Dressed all in black with a black baseball cap, the American illusionist is big, bulky and intimidating.
The article in today’s The Evening Herald profiles magician David Blaine from a distance – at least emotionally. The writer is clearly not one of the millions sold on the concept of David Blaine. He views the performer as an oddity; hence an appropriate topic for a news story, we presume.
Mr. Blaine performs some pretty amazing effects for the reporter but he does not seem overly impressed. The tricks he describes seem great but as the writer notes, “we expect to be astonished.” He does not say if he was astonished though.
Mr. Blaine confesses that despite his reputation as a performer of death-defying stunts, he is “obsessed with magic.”
He considers magic as a grounding center for his peripatetic life. “It’s what drives me. It’s my favorite thing. It’s my saving grace. Like a meditation. I don’t even know what I would do without it.”
We know the feeling. Give us a deck of cards and we are content. Take away our deck of cards or our two silver dollars and the panic comes back.
Mr. Blaine teased his fans with scant information about an upcoming performance.
“There is a very big idea that I am going to do in London for the first time ever,” he says. “It’s a very simple idea, but it will be the best thing I have ever done. The most exciting. I know that it will drive me and I will push myself in a way I never would if it was not in front of me.”
It is scheduled to happen sometime in 2016 and in a football stadium. That’s all we know so far.
We were thinking it would be the world’s longest performance of The Six Card Repeat. That would have a lot of magicians watching for sure and there would be drama as he risked paper cuts and wrist injury. Perhaps it is something different.
“No, an event. It is different from anything I have ever done, but combines everything. It will make sense out of everything I have spent my career working towards. If it works.”
An “event,” huh? We’re thinking it could be Cups and Balls with really big cups and for a final load, he would produce a gazelle or wildebeest or an emu. That would be both magic and an event. Sort of like Houdini vanishing an elephant but in reverse and with cups, balls and an untrained animal for a final load.
Mr. Blaine is over in London working with “some of the most creative minds in magic” to put together a show at the London Coliseum, home of English National Opera.
Maybe he will do a new version of Think-a-Drink but with soy milk and Kool-Aid® as the unexpected kicker. That would be cool. No one does tricks for the lactose intolerant and hypoglycemic niche of today’s modern audiences.
Mr. Blaine is a driven man. He, like a shark, needs to keep moving to stay alive. “The hunger dies. That hunger, that curiosity, that desire that creates the ultimate passion to do something new.”
He fears his past will curtail his career and potentially his life. He figures he has about ten years left before all of the risks, chemicals, oxygen deprivation and organ failure take their revenge.
In the meantime, he will push the envelope and avoid falling back onto what he views as the bane of the magic world. Mr. Blaine calls out Criss Angel and Dynamo and their use of camera tricks and special effects to wow television audiences. “I hate it. I don’t like the way that feels. I like things that feel authentic.”
But at least he has a healthy view of how magic should be integrated into one’s life.
“I get short breaks,” he says, “but really it is a constant. Magic is all I have ever really thought about. It’s my obsession, my compulsion. My addiction”
Healthy from our perspective at least.