Sunday, December 25, 2011

David Blaine: Street Magician

David Blaine is one of the most well-known illusionists of the modern era. His first television show, David Blaine: Street Magic aired in 1997 and immediately started a craze for street magic. His illustrious career includes street magic tricks, large scale stage performances and incredible feats of endurance. He has been referred to as a modern day Houdini. David Blaine has broken numerous world records and continues to amaze the world with his unique brand of magic.
Blaine was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended various schools there while he was being raised by his mother. She eventually married and Blaine moved to New Jersey to attend high school before eventually moving to Manhattan at the age of 17. When Blaine was only four years old he saw a magic performance on the subway and was immediately interested. Blaine has a half brother named Michael Bukalo.
Blaine’s Street Magic special is widely considered one of the most important magic specials ever shown on television. Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame called it the biggest breakthrough “done in our lifetime”. Much of the show’s focus is on the audience, and this was really the first time magic performances were filmed this way. Blaine also remains calm and collected through most of the routines, not employing some of the classic patter techniques that magicians are familiar with or any over the top gestures. His second special, Magic Man, would take the show on the road around numerous major American cities.
After the success of his specials, Blaine turned to massive spectacles of endurance and strength. Most of these have been performed in public or on television, many have broken world records, and all are frankly amazing. His first show of endurance was Buried Alive in 1999. Blaine stayed underground in an enclosed plastic coffin for seven days. He ate nothing and drank only a few tablespoons of water per day. It is estimated that over 75,000 people visited the site during the display, and Harry Houdini’s niece even stopped by to say that her Uncle never could have performed such a feat.
Possibly the most amazing stunt ever performed by Blaine was Frozen in Time. During this display, Blaine was enclosed completely in ice for over 63 hours. Again he ate nothing, but was supplied with water through a tube in the ice. Thousands came to witness the amazing spectacle. After being cut out, Blaine was rushed to the hospital and treated for shock. Blaine claimed that he was not able to walk for a month after the stunt and that he would never again attempt a feat of endurance so grand.
Other feats of endurance by Blaine include standing on top of a 100 foot pole for 35 hours then jumping 88 feet to a landing platform made out of cardboard boxes, sitting in a raised Plexiglas case for 44 days without food, sitting underwater for seven days, holding his breath underwater for over 17 minutes, being attached to a gyroscope for 52 hours then escaping from shackles and jumping to a platform 30 feet below and being hung upside down from a building for 60 hours. Imagine putting all that down on a resume.

Blaine has also been involved in numerous charity shows for such organizations as the Salvation Army and Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. He also raised almost $100,000 for Haiti by performing magic in Times Square for 72 hours straight. He has announced a new show for May of 2012 that will apparently be entirely comprised of street magic and use all new material. One thing is for certain, David Blaine has some serious willpower and work ethic. Check out’s magic section for a full selection of magic tricks and gimmicks, including some from the man himself, David Blaine.

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