Tag: David Blaine

Blaine, Murder, Magic & Art

Inside Magic Image of Performance Artist Marina Abramovic Performing Rhythm, 0 (Circa 1974)There is a fine line between art and premeditated murder.

Magician and endurance stunt endurer David Blaine knows the location of that fine line. He will come close to it but not cross. That’s why he continues to command huge fees and great ratings for his appearances.

Marina Abramovic?, artist and author of Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, has made a reputation in the often confusing but almost always entertaining world of Performance Art. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog notes the documentary about her 730 hour-long staring contest at the New York Museum of Modern Art won the Audience Prize for a feature film at a festival in Paris honoring US indie films.

The film is now showing in New York and stirring some controversy. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog writer Andre Tartar wondered “just how much lustier the reception [for the film] might’ve been if Abramovic? really had let magician David Blaine disembowel her with a fire axe.”

Mr. Blaine chews on a glass whilst discussing a performance piece with the artist. We assume he was just “spit-ballin'” some ideas with his creative equal. He proposed taking a hatchet to Ms. Abramovic? and leaving her in pieces-n-parts all over the exhibit space. “You know there are always those axes in the glass in case of emergency,” Blaine says on the video. “…She’s laying there, and the whole exhibition is over.

We are not sure why Mr. Blaine and Ms. Abramovic? abandoned this sensational plan. Then again, we are not sure why Mr. Blaine goes through with many of his other stunts. There is a shrewd calculus in the mystifier’s mind. That’s what makes him special.

As for Ms. Abramovic?, however, she is clearly not adverse to taking her pursuit of art to places rarely considered in suburban wine-and-cheese galleries.

In the early 1970’s, Ms. Abramovic? performed Rhythm, 0. She became completely submissive to her audience and allowed them to use one of 72 different items to interact with her. The items were a mixture of harmful, pleasurable and benign. She had a gun held to her head, she was pierced by rose thorns, and suffered other indignities. The lesson, “if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.”

Excellent point and, in our humble opinion, an amazing work of art.

Check out the incredible MOMA page documenting The Artist is Present exhibition here.

The documentary will appear exclusively on HBO on July 2nd.

Magic and Anesthesiology in the News

So we were perusing Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Association of Anesthesiologists whilst waiting for our HOT POCKETS® brand Breakfast – Ham, Egg & Cheese sandwich to cook and came across two articles with magical applications.

The first is by Dr. Amr Abouleish titled “Try and hold your breath while reading this!

The second is “A Mixed (Long- and Medium-chain) Triglyceride Lipid Emulsion Extracts Local Anesthetic from Human Serum In Vitro More Effectively than a Long-chain Emulsion,” by Weiming Ruan and Deborah French.

The first piece gives an anesthesiologist’s take on magician David Blaine’s world record setting attempts at holding his breath (as opposed to holding someone elses?) for more than 17 minutes. You can watch the TED Talk in which Mr. Blaine instructs audience members in the special preparation needed to hold their breath for more than three minutes after breathing “normal” or upwards of 17 minutes after huffing pure oxygen.

Dr. Abouleish poses the following question to his new anesthesiologist residents when discussing the relationship of end-tidal CO2 and respiration. “If your oxygen saturation is 100% and you hold your breath, what would your oxygen saturation be when you have to breathe?”

Of course all magicians know the answer to this but non-magic oriented medical residents need to be reminded of the relatively slow decline in oxygen saturation experienced by pre-oxygenated patients under general anesthesia.

We agree with Dr. Abouleish’s praise of Blaine’s talk. Those in the audience were able to hold their breath for as long as three minutes or more. Check it out for yourself and abide the constant warnings that this is not a skill easily acquired and one should never try this under water. The chance of passing out is high and because the risk of drowning whilst underwater is directly proportional to being conscious, you could, in the medical parlance, “konk out and die.”

The comments to Dr. Abouleish’s article are also instructive. There is general agreement that Mr. Blaine should have sought advice from an anesthesiologist rather than neurologists.

Instructive is a comment from Dr. Gerald Zeitlin. His capitalization and grammar is taken verbatim from his post:

As you all know Dr. Abouleish is discussing apneic oxygenation.

Watching David Blaine do his 17 minutes was fantastic – but what an incredibly wasted opportunity for science.


Neurosurgeons “Don’t know nuffin’ ” about respiratory physiology. Why did Blaine not have an arterial line for his record attempt – then we’d have known what his arterial pCO2 was after 17 minutes.

Of course we all know that, at rest, during apnea the pCO2 rises between 3 and 5 mm. Hg per minute.

I failed math in Kindergarten but I think 17 times, let’s say 4 mm. Hg = 68. So, approximately he was at 108 mm.Hg pCO2.

As WE (anesthesiologists) know that level has mild to moderate anesthetic properties. I bet if you Emailed Dr. Eger he would know what the MAC of CO2 is.

We would love to meet Dr. Zeitlin. He is our kind of guy.

The second article of magic merit in the February 2012 edition of Anesthesiology, attempts to the answer the age old question, which extracts local anesthesia better, a “mixed” triglyceride lipid emulsion or a long-chain version?

Houdini’s correspondence with Kellar on this issue springs to mind.

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Houdini Returns: Medium Connects with Great Magician

Inside Magic Image of Headline

We read with great interest an article on the incredibly reliable Weekly World News web site, "Houdini Speaks from Beyond the Grave." The article is probably not totally true but says Houdini has made contact through professional medium John Edward. Houdini provides several predictions to prove his authenticity. Like we said, it is probably not true but still interesting.

We live by few rules as magician / magic writer persons. First, "if it bleeds, it leads." The shocking and graphic stories go to the front of the line. In this way, we are very much like Disney World. The more grotesque or disgusting a person is (either in mannerisms or odor) the more likely he or she will be permitted to cut ahead of others standing in the Florida Sun.

Our second rule gets us in trouble, sometimes. "When in doubt, don't leave it out." Some news sources will pass on stories that have only a single source, seem self-serving or seem highly unlikely.

If it wasn't for Inside Magic, you would never know what got passed over. We publish the stuff others won't because they have "standards" or insist on "some basis in reality." Not this major magic periodical. If it wasn't for this policy, none of the following would have found a voice on the endless maze of copper tubing we call the internets.

1. President Magic Will Be Criminalized

This seemed within the realm of possible when we printed it several years ago. Our source assured us that the hobby and profession enjoyed by millions was about to be made illegal and practitioners would face jail time. Imagine how embarrassed we were to learn that the headline was technically true but just barely. It was the president of a local fraternal lodge that made the statement. And that he actually said, "Magic should be taught to criminals as a practical skill to boost self-esteem and confidence." Whether he intended jail birds to learn escape techniques is still the subject of litigation and debate within the lodge.

2. Ching Ling Foo Not Who He Seemed

For pure volume, this article should rank high on our Google search results. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Ching Ling Foo was actually a magician from China and not really Billy Robinson, former assistant to Kellar and Thurston. Mr. Robinson used the derivative name Chung Ling Soo to hide his Anglo identity and perform until he was killed performing the Bullet Catching Trick &ndash not the Cups and Balls as we also erroneously reported. We agree now that it did not make sense that a person could be killed when his or her Cups and Balls routine went "Horribly Wrong" and that we should not have guessed at what happened.


3. David Blaine's Box Falls Kills Paul McCartney and Others

We had to go with it. Yes, we could have immediately verified the story by looking at the live web cam showing every second of the 44 days of boredom induced and experienced by the American magician's endurance test. But we were writing from our phone while waiting in line at the 7-11 convenience store. We note that several of the letters in Mr. Blaine's name alone take forever to type out on a cellphone key pad. We were lucky to get the story out at all.

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Best Cellmate? Criss Angel or David Blaine, Of Course

Inside Magic Image of Alternative Cellmate From The Hardball Talk blog over at NBC Sports. Writer Craig Calcaterra answers readers tweeted questions. Most were non-magic-centric save this one.

Q: If you had to live in a 10×10 cell with one celebrity, who would it be? If you could punch anyone in the head, who?

The cell is an interesting question. I’m going to assume that this will be a traditional jail setting and not some sort of fantasy love nest, so I’ll avoid saying the obviously piggy male kind of thing [cough] Carla Gugino [cough]. I’ll go with one of those obnoxious street magic guys like David Blaine or Criss Angel or whoever, because they probably have sufficient skills to aid in an escape attempt. Coincidentally, they are also the people I would most like to punch in the head, so it’s pretty darn convenient.

via You asked me questions on Twitter. So I shall answer them. | HardballTalk.

With Whom Would You Dine: Condi, Blaine, Dr. Weill or Glenn Beck?

Inside Magic Image of Condi Rice David Blaine will be in Naples on March 1, 2012 as part of town’s speaker series held at the beautiful and, by definition, ritzy Ritz-Carlton.

His talk is scheduled to follow the February 1st talk to be given by Dr. Andrew Weill.  Dr. Weill is known to those who would know of such people as “a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit.”

This puts David Blaine in rare company.  The series kicks off with Glenn Beck on January 7, 2012.  Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the final speaker on March 20.

Without regard to politics, it does make for an interesting cast, n’est-ce pas?

Interested in checking out the series?  You’ll need $700.00 for a ticket.  That gets you in to all four talks.  Hungry and lonely?  Well, for a mere $1,500, you can get a ducat to the dinner series, which includes a private cocktail reception, dinner and 45 minute question and answer session with the speakers.  Wanting a little more, how should we phrase it, intimacy with Glenn, Doc, David and Condi?  You can become a Town Hall Benefactor.  Upon receipt of your cash or check for $5,250.00, you will receive “exclusive access for two with priority seating, a private cocktail reception, dinner and 45-minute question and answer period, plus entry to special events and an invitation to dine with one guest speaker.”

Who would you choose for your one-on-one din-din?
Continue reading “With Whom Would You Dine: Condi, Blaine, Dr. Weill or Glenn Beck?”

David Blaine Promises “All Magic” in Next Special

It has been four years in the making but Magician David Blaine promises his next “big event” will be well worth the wait.

News outlets are all abuzz this morning with variations on David Blaine’s announcement last Friday.  Why the delay?  We’re not sure but it  may have to do with the outlet chosen to deliver the news.

David Blaine shared his plans with fans on TinyChat.com during an on-line session.  What is TinyChat.com? From their website:

Tinychat provides dead simple, free to use, video chat rooms that just work! Enjoy chatting with your friends or making new ones, just create a chat room or join one.

It is easy to use and free.  It is not easy to search, however.  It took us a while to locate the David Blaine chat session.  His page is located at tinychat.com/DAVIDBLAINE.  We should have tried that combination of words and backslashes as we tried to guess the url.

Magicians have criticized David Blaine for his “magic-less magic shows” in the past. He told TinyChat viewers the May 2012 event (or events?)  will feature magic tricks rather than endurance stunts. “This is as good as it gets… All magic, nothing else,” he said.  “It’s better than anything that’s ever been done, by me at least… It’s the most original concept I’ve ever come up with. It’s taken me four years to sort out.”

Depending on the news source, the effect will either be seen live on ABC in the United States; or from video tape on NBC television.  It sounds like there are a few details to clarify yet.
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David Blaine May Have Been Ribald at Some Point in Time

Image of David Blaine on Inside MagicWizbang Pop! reports this morning on a timeless story.

By timeless, we do not mean it will stand the test of time.

We mean, there is no date given for the unattributed claims about David Blaine and his romantic relationships with “many women.”

Do not get us wrong.  We like scandal and titillating innuendo as much as the next high-quality daily magic news source.  But there has to be steak to go with that sizzle.  We want fries with that shake.  We would at least like to know the adventure in love and its manifestations happened in this century.

Writes Wizbang Pop!, “The two had a kinky and wild sex life according to Blaine.”

There is a description of a favorite method of expressing one’s fondness allegedly preferred by Fiona Apple.  We do not know Ms. Apple and so do not feel comfortable exposing the method d’ amour David Blaine was said to have practiced.

Unless we know the person intimately — say a family member or work colleague — we refuse to contribute to the stream of gossip and sensationalism.  Now, if the story involved one of the Hardy clan, we would tell what we knew, what we thought we knew, what we wished we knew, and show pictures (even photoshopped versions for clarity) and streaming video featuring puppets and gaudy soundtrack.

That’s just the way we are.

If you must, you can read the details here:

Kinks Of The Stars: David Blaine & Fiona Apple’s Wild Relationship | Wizbang Pop!.

David Blaine: Dad to Be

Inside Magic: At the Intersection of Fashion and Magic - David Blaine Announces he is a Dad-to-BeCongratulations to David Blaine and French model fiancée Alizee Guinochet.

We read TV3.ie religiously – it is a strange religion; to have a ritual where the devout read a particular Irish television-centric web site. But it is our religion and we read the U.S. Constitution to protect that right – no matter how others may judge.  Plus Channel 3 in Ireland has a four-hour special about how people shouldn't judge religions that may sound strange or different.  Oh, by the way, do you want to buy a copy of our seminal religious text, TV Guide This Weeks and Puzzles?

David Blaine and the lovely and now slightly larger than a size 0 model Alizee Guinochet made the announcement at a cancer charitable event on a roof top someplace.

We say the event was "someplace" because there were 300 hits for the news item but not one had a location for the event other than "a rooftop." 

We were able to do some detective work and determined it was not in Pueblo, Colorado. 

The houses there are built into the side of cliffs (at least the cool ones) and they technically don't have rooftops and even if they did, it would be too scary to stand on an adobe clay roof at night when one is drinking (except for Ms. Guinochet and the future heir to the Blaine magic estate.).

We also ruled out Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

The city planners do not permit buildings higher than the tallest historic structure — about eight feet.  Santa Fe — named after Saint Fay, a red-headed dwarf martyr who was burned near a stake by heathens who mistook her for a safety match – is home to statistically the shortest individuals who by contrast make the buildings look “normal” height. 

We were quite sure it was not Asunción or Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. 

The U.S. State Department advises American travelers to avoid outdoor nighttime events.  The State Department warns there is a high risk of injury or death due to intentional or accidental gunfire from by bad guys with guns and little ability to aim.

(Actual listing from Ireland's TV3 Week's Guide for the day on which David Blaine announced his happy news.  Coincidence, we think not.).

We were about to give up.  We felt dejected and defeated.  We decided to use the restroom to do some thinking. 

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Flash: Blaine Endurances for American Magicians News!

Machine Generated News Confuses and Confounds Magicians and Endurance Artists AlikeWe wouldn’t say we are lazy but only because it would take too much energy. 

We come from a long line of very lazy people.  In fact, our family tree is not real, it’s artificial with one of those rotating lights that give it all sorts of different colors and stuff. 

But as lazy as we are – and we are – we would not likely go down the slippery slope that is automated blogging.

We never knew there was such a thing until it jumped off the Google News site and bit us in a very metaphorical manner.

We have about 90 Google News Alerts to keep up to date on the latest in Magic and other important topics.  For instance, if there is something going on in the Vegas Magic world, our Alert “Vegas Magic” will flash on the screen.  We can then quit our Bejeweled session – if it is a really important news flash. 

But sometimes, because you cannot save your progress on the free version of the popular game, we just let it go. 

That’s because we are lazy and obsessive compulsive.  We should see a doctor about the latter illness but in the psyche that is us, laziness trumps OCD every time – and we do mean, every time.  That’s because we are obsessive compulsive and lazy.    We would have a hand-washing obsession if it wasn’t so much work.

So the “David Blaine” alert sounded as we were trying to hack into Popular Science’s image server – we need stock images of wood putty for a project we’re trying to finish.  We left the putty search for the article link.

Now we don’t feel so lazy.  We found a site that just throws words together automatically – because it would be too much work to make a tossed salad of phrases manually – to generate articles geared to bring in visitors and boost click-based ad money.

The site is called Online Flash News.  It is at least a third correct, it is online.  The flash and the news aspects were not evident in the article just posted, “DAVID BLAINE-AN AMERICAN ENDURANCE ARTIST AND MAGICIAN.”

Takes your breath away, don’t it.  Fortunately, we don’t like to expend all that energy on inhaling and exhaling so we use a respirator when breathing becomes too much of a chore.

The headline screams something but we aren’t sure what.  But it does scream as evident by the ALL CAPS typography. 

The author is named “Jake Sheffield.”  Even in the relaxed, non-judgmental era we enjoy, someone named “Jake Sheffield” would raise eyebrows and curiosity.  We doubt a person called “Jake Sheffield” could check into most hotels or cash a check.  Betty Crocker sounds more authentic to our lackadaisical ear.

Jake’s article is a wonderful mélange of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions but almost no adverbs) slammed together by a WordPress plugin to look just like a real article.  Here is the first paragraph:

David Blaine-An American endurance artist and Magician: David Blaine is an American ability artist. He is best accepted for his aerial contour feats of endurance, and has fabricated his name as a aerialist of artery and close-up magic. He has set and burst several apple records. Magician and stuntman David Blaine believes what he does to not alone be works of art but additionally claimed challenges to prove that what can’t be done absolutely he can do it.

Maybe we’re just too lazy to read it correctly.  Perhaps it is a free-verse jazz ditty and we just cannot hear the skins and bass.  Or maybe Jake Sheffield isn’t real. 

We checked out his other articles on the site.  He is prolific alright.  But he shares our OCD.  We noted that every article written by this phantom of the press is published at 8 minutes after the hour.  The last two stories were posted at precisely 1:08 am (Mystic Hollow Time).  The ones before came at various hours but always 8 minutes after.

We may never cut our nose hair or clip our toe nails or open a door with our left hand or pour milk in our cereal bowl from the front or wear anything with black stripes or brush our canine (incisor) teeth or fail to multiply the numbers of every phone number we hear by the number 7 or carve anything that smells of cheese or wear a sombrero under our t-shirt or fail to perform a five second jig we saw performed in River Dance each of the 62 nights in a row we watched from the same seat at the Mystic Hollow Theatre for the Performance of Arts or other things that we dare not mention or the clowns will eat us whilst we sleep.  But at least we don’t write total nonsense; or if we do, we do it intentionally.

For fun, we tracked down the phrases used in the story about David Blaine the American Endurance Artist and Magician.  Many are taken from Wikipedia and some from sites that have been crawled by Jake or his spider-bot. 

So, what is the point of this article? That we are better than poorly written software?  That we have nobility in a field where nobility is automatically translated by some software packages to mean “no ability”? 

Continue reading “Flash: Blaine Endurances for American Magicians News!”

Rick Carruth Named Lifetips Magic Editor

Rick Carruth does not sleep.  He has never owned a pillow or an alarm clock.  He has only seen others yawn but has never had the experience.  He is to energy what energy is to an energy drink – the vital, special element that makes the latter possible – and without the jitters or irritability.

If we never slept, we would be in prison.  Of course, if we were in prison, we would likely never sleep either.

But Mr. Carruth uses his superhuman abilities for good.  He works through the night on as many as 15 different projects.  He perfectly achieves his goals and shares the results with the Magic Community.

Beyond insomnia, Mr. Carruth is known for his always fantastic Magic Roadshow (http://streetmagic.info/emagic107.html) e-zine.  Mr. Carruth cranks out new material without fail.

We cannot compare to Mr. Carruth.  Some recall the Inside Magic newsletter “Magic in Your Mouth” produced with backing from the American Dental Association. As loyal readers know, MYM lasted about six months before circulation dropped below the single digits; at almost the exact same time we ran out of effects utilizing dental dams or Novocain.

Yes, we still get requests for reprints for our original mentalist routine,  The Numb Tongue Tells All but we attribute its fame to David Blaine’s inclusion on his recent cable-only show “David Blaine and the Hot Sauce of Hell.”

It was not a big part of the show, and technically, David did not perform it but had a “volunteer” (really a dental hygienist) offer her tongue for numbing and subsequent clairvoyant activity.  It is a sad comment on the state of television magic but true they shot the bit seven or eight times before the volunteer’s tongue correctly revealed the prediction on the mouth-sized Ouija board.

And yes, the Ouija board the show used is different than the one that comes with the set we sell.  The regular Oral Ouija Board does not have a “spit sluice” or the special bridge work to hold the board in place if the “volunteer” starts to gag or choke before spelling out the prediction.

Our Numb Tongue routine was just one of the several bits he performed leading up to the live finale; the controversial gargling of the certified hottest of the hot sauce whilst sitting on a block of ice.  Would the ice cube melt, causing David Blaine to fall onto the stage and possibly injuring his coccyx? Would the hot sauce meld his tongue to his enflamed gums or nearly translucent cheeks? It was quite a cliff-hanger.

But we digress.  The point was something similar to the maxim, “it is hard to do something good for a long time.”

Surprisingly, English is our native language.

The wise folks at LifeTips.com selected the overly qualified and caffeinated Mr. Carruth as Magic Editor.

They could not have selected a better person for the job.  We, on the other hand, just learned we were not selected as the Magic Editor at PassiveAggressive.com.  We are okay with losing out, though.  We never really wanted the position; and it is a stupid site anyway.

We will make the tricks slated for PassiveAggressive.com available for sale soon.  Our favorite is Headline Prediction or Not.

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