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David Blaine

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David Blaine
Blaine holding cards
Blaine at the Grand Canyon in 2008
Born David Blaine White
(1973-04-04) April 4, 1973 (age 43)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
Occupation
Years active 1997–present
Partner(s) Alizée Guinochet (2008–2014)
Website Official website

David Blaine (born David Blaine White; April 4, 1973) is an American magician, illusionist and endurance artist. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has set and broken several world records.

Blaine’s first television special, Street Magic, has been called "the best TV magic special ever done and the biggest breakthrough in our lifetime".[1] Blaine revolutionized the way magic is shown on television by focusing on spectator reactions. His idea was to turn the camera around on the people watching instead of the performer, to make the audience watch the audience. The New York Times noted that "he's taken a craft that's been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it."[2] According to the New York Daily News, "Blaine can lay claim to his own brand of wizardry. The magic he offers operates on an uncommonly personal level."[3]

Early life[edit]

Blaine was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Patrice Maureen White (1946–1995),[4] a school teacher, and William Perez, a veteran of the Vietnam War. His father was of half Puerto Rican and half Italian descent, and his mother was of Russian Jewish ancestry.[5] When Blaine was four years old, he saw a magician performing magic in the subway. This triggered a lifelong interest for him.[6] He was raised by his single mother and attended many schools in Brooklyn. When he was 10 years old, his mother married John Bukalo and they moved to Little Falls, New Jersey,[7] where he attended Passaic Valley Regional High School.[8] When Blaine was 17 years old, he moved to Manhattan, New York.[9]

Stunts and specials[edit]

Street Magic and Magic Man[edit]

On May 19, 1997, Blaine's first television special, David Blaine: Street Magic aired on NBC television.[10] "It really, really does break new ground," said Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller.[11] When asked about his performance style, Blaine explained, “I'd like to bring magic back to the place it used to be 100 years ago.”'[12] Time commented, "His deceptively low-key, ultracool manner leaves spectators more amazed than if he'd razzle-dazzled."[13]

In Magic Man, Blaine is shown traveling across the country, entertaining unsuspecting pedestrians in Atlantic City, Compton, Dallas, the Mojave Desert, New York City, and San Francisco, recorded by a small crew with handheld cameras. Jon Racherbaumer commented: "Make no mistake about it, the focus of this show, boys and girls, is not Blaine. It is really about theatrical proxemics; about the show-within-a-show and the spontaneous, visceral reactions of people being astonished."[14] USA Today called Blaine the "hottest name in magic right now".[15]

Buried Alive[edit]

Blaine buried underneath a 3.5 long tons (3.9 short tons) tank of water in New York
Blaine encased in a block of ice for Frozen in Time in Times Square, New York
Blaine stands on a 100 ft (30 m) pole for Vertigo in the middle of Bryant Park in New York

On April 5, 1999, Blaine was entombed in an underground plastic box underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank for seven days, across from Trump Place on 68th St. and Riverside Drive, as part of a stunt titled "Buried Alive". According to CNN, "Blaine's only communication to the outside world was by a hand buzzer, which could have alerted an around-the-clock emergency crew standing by." BBC News reported that the plastic coffin had six inches (150 millimetres) of headroom and two inches (51 millimetres) on each side. During the endurance stunt Blaine did not eat and drank only two to three US tablespoons (30 to 44 millilitres) of water a day.[16] An estimated 75,000 people visited the site, including Marie Blood, Harry Houdini's niece, who said, "My uncle did some amazing things, but he could not have done this."[17] On the final day of the stunt, April 12, hundreds of news teams were stationed at the site for the coffin-opening. A team of construction workers removed a portion of the 75 cubic feet (2.1 m3) of gravel surrounding the 6-foot (1.8-metre) deep coffin before a crane lifted the water tank.[18] Blaine emerged and told the crowd, "I saw something very prophetic ... a vision of every race, every religion, every age group banding together, and that made all this worthwhile."[16] BBC News stated, "The 26-year-old magician has outdone his hero, Harry Houdini, who had planned a similar feat but died in 1926 before he could perform it."[19]

Frozen in Time[edit]

On November 27, 2000, Blaine performed a stunt called Frozen in Time, which was covered on a TV special. Blaine was shown encased in a large block of ice located in Times Square, New York City. He was lightly dressed and appeared to be shivering even before the blocks of ice were placed around him. A tube supplied him with air and water while his urine was removed with another tube. He was encased in the box of ice for 63 hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds before being removed with chain saws. The ice was transparent and resting on an elevated platform to show that he was actually inside the ice the entire time. He was removed from the ice and taken to a hospital due to fears he might be going into shock.[20] The New York Times reported, "The magician who emerged from the increasingly unstable ice box seemed a shadow of the confident, robust, shirtless fellow who entered two days before."[21] Blaine later said it took a month to fully recover and that he had no plans to attempt a stunt of this difficulty in the future.[22] In 2010, a magician from Israel named Hezi Dean broke Blaine's record when he was encased in a block of ice for 66 hours.[23]

Vertigo[edit]

On May 22, 2002, a crane lifted Blaine onto a 100 feet (30 metres) high and 22 inches (0.56 metres) wide pillar in Bryant Park, New York City. He was not harnessed to the pillar, although there were two retractable handles on either side of him to grasp in the event of harsh weather.[24] He remained on the pillar for 35 hours. He ended the feat by jumping down onto a landing platform made out of a 12 feet (3.7 metres) high pile of cardboard boxes and suffered a mild concussion.[25]

Mysterious Stranger[edit]

Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic by David Blaine was published on October 29, 2002.[26] The book is an autobiography and armchair treasure hunt with instructions on performing magic tricks. The treasure hunt was created by game designer Cliff Johnson and solved by Sherri Skanes on March 20, 2004.[27]

Above the Below[edit]

On September 5, 2003, Blaine began an endurance stunt in which he was sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case. The case was suspended 30 feet (9.1 metres) in the air next to Potters Fields Park on the south bank of the River Thames in London, and measured 3 feet (0.9 metres) by 7 feet (2.1 metres) by 7 feet (2.1 metres). A webcam was installed inside the case so that viewers could observe his progress. The stunt lasted 44 days, during which Blaine drank 1.2 US gallons (4.5 litres) of water per day and did not eat.[28]

Blaine in the box for Above the Below in front of thousands at City Hall (London)

The stunt was the subject of public interest and media attention, The Times reported that "1,614 articles in the British press have made reference to the exploit."[29] Then U.S. President George W. Bush referred to Blaine’s stunt in a speech at the Whitehall Palace in London, saying, "The last noted American to visit London stayed in a glass box dangling over the Thames. A few might have been happy to provide similar arrangements for me."[30] A number of spectators threw food and other items towards the box, including eggs, paint-filled balloons and golf balls, according to The Times.[29] A hamburger was flown up to the box by a remote-controlled helicopter as a taunt.[31] The Evening Standard reported that one man was arrested for attempting to cut the cable supplying water to Blaine's box.[32][33]

On September 25, BBC News reported that "if his endurance test is real rather than an elaborate illusion", then Blaine's claim of tasting pear drops indicates he is advancing through the first stage of starvation.[34] A medical doctor said that the taste is caused by ketones, which are produced when the body burns fat reserves.

The stunt ended on October 19, and Blaine emerged saying "I love you all!" and was subsequently hospitalized. The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper that documented his 44-day fast and stated his re-feeding was perhaps the most dangerous part of the stunt.[35] The study reported, "He lost 24.5 kg (54 lb)‍—‌25 percent of his original body weight‍—‌and his body mass index dropped from 29.0 to 21.6. His appearance and body-mass index after his fast would not by themselves have alerted us to the risks of refeeding. Despite cautious management, he had hypophosphatemia and fluid retention, important elements of the refeeding syndrome."[36]

Drowned Alive[edit]

Blaine prepares to hold his breath on the final night of Drowned Alive at Lincoln Center, New York

On May 1, 2006, Blaine began his Drowned Alive stunt, which lasted seven days and involved a submersion in an 8 feet (2.4 m) diameter, water-filled sphere containing isotonic saline in front of the Lincoln Center in New York City. At the end of the stunt, Blaine attempted to free himself from handcuffs and chains after exiting the sphere.[37] After the stunt, Blaine entered into an agreement with researchers at Yale University to monitor him in order to study the human physiological reaction to prolonged submersion.[38]

Revolution[edit]

On November 21, 2006, Blaine began his Revolution stunt, where he was shackled to a rotating gyroscope without food or water, intending to escape within 16 hours. Blaine ended the stunt 52 hours later.[39]

Guinness World Records[edit]

Blaine appeared on the April 30, 2008 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for oxygen assisted static apnea, following his failure to break the then-current record of unassisted static apnea in his previous attempt Drowned Alive.[40] The previous record was set by Peter Colat of Switzerland on February 10, 2008.[41]

Before entering the 1,800 US gallons (6.8 cubic metres) water tank, Blaine spent 23 minutes inhaling pure oxygen.[42] Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes 4-1/2 seconds, surpassing Colat's previous mark of 16 minutes 32 seconds.[42] This record[43] stood for almost four and a half months, until surpassed by Tom Sietas on September 19, 2008.

Dive of Death[edit]

Donald Trump with Blaine announcing Blaine's next event in the atrium of the Trump Tower

On September 18, 2008, Donald Trump and Blaine announced his latest feat, The Upside Down Man, in which he planned to hang upside down without a safety net for 60 hours. On September 22, Blaine began his stunt Dive of Death, hanging over Wollman Rink in Central Park and interacting with fans by lowering himself upside down. He pulled himself up to drink fluid and restore normal circulation. Reportedly, Blaine risked blindness and other maladies in the stunt.[44] He was widely[POV? ] criticized when, only hours into the endurance challenge, he was seen standing on a waiting crane platform, not upside down as expected.[45] During the stunt, he came down once an hour for a medical check and to use the bathroom.[46]

What Is Magic?[edit]

In this 42-minute television special from 2010, Blaine catches a .22 caliber bullet fired from a rifle into a small metal cup in his mouth. The special also features 2008 footage of Blaine in New Orleans performing for people affected by hurricane Katrina.

Electrified: One Million Volts Always On[edit]

Blaine was the target for the electrical discharge produced by seven Tesla coils on Pier 54, New York City

On October 5, 2012, Blaine began performing a 72-hour endurance stunt called Electrified: One Million Volts Always On atop a 22-foot high pillar on Pier 54 in New York City, which was streamed live on YouTube.[47] During the stunt, Blaine stood on the pillar surrounded by seven Tesla coils producing an electric discharge of one million volts or more continuously. The coils were directed at Blaine for the entirety of the endurance stunt, during which he did not eat or sleep. He wore 34 pounds (15 kilograms) of gear, including a chainmail Faraday suit, designed to prevent electrical current from traveling through the body.[48] John Belcher, a physics professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reportedly said, “He has a conducting suit, all the current is going through the suit, nothing through his body. There is no danger in this that I see."[48]

At night, Blaine shivered uncontrollably from the inclement weather. The New York Times published an article describing the science behind Blaine’s stunt.[49] Members of the public were able to control the pattern of electric current by accessing screens,[50] and musicians Pharrell Williams[51] and Andrew W.K.[52] performed solos on a keyboard which controlled the electric discharge.

The event concluded on October 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm. Blaine was able to walk away with assistance, and was transported to a hospital for a medical check.[53][54] Blaine donated two of the Tesla coils to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey to be exhibited on permanent display.[55]

Real or Magic[edit]

Blaine starred in a 90-minute ABC television special, David Blaine: Real or Magic, on November 19, 2013.[56] The special featured Blaine performing magic for celebrities and public figures.[57] Real or Magic achieved a 2.5 rating in the 18–49 age bracket, and posted the best numbers in the 9:30–11:00 pm time slot for ABC's 2013 season.[58]

Beyond Magic[edit]

This 42-minute television special aired on November 15, 2016 on ABC. Like his previous special, Blaine is featured performing magic for various public figures. Also featured in this special is a stunt where Blaine catches a .22 caliber bullet in a small metal cup in his mouth. Improving on the previous version of this stunt featured in David Blaine: What Is Magic?, the bullet catch was performed live on stage in front of 20,000 people (in August 2015), and Blaine fires the gun himself.

Charity and private appearances[edit]

Blaine performs for President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as President George W. Bush
Blaine performs for Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger and Michael Bloomberg

Philanthropy[edit]

Blaine makes an annual visit to perform at children's hospitals and burn units in the US and elsewhere, including Spofford, Bridges, Horizon, and Crossroads. He has performed at Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summer camp for children diagnosed with serious illnesses, and led 100 children on a shopping spree funded by Target and selected by The Salvation Army. On January 15, 2010, Blaine performed "Magic for Haiti" in Times Square, a performance lasting 72 hours which raised nearly US$100,000 for Haiti earthquake relief.[59]

Private appearances[edit]

He has performed privately for a number of celebrities and world leaders, and performed magic alongside Michael Jackson. He gave a TED talk in 2009, describing his Guinness World Record of oxygen-assisted static apnea.[60]

Personal life[edit]

Blaine has one half-brother. Blaine and Alizee Guinochet have one daughter, who was born on January 26, 2011.[61][62] At the time that Guinochet went into labor, there was a massive blizzard where they lived in New York. Due to the intense weather, no cars or taxis were on the road, so Blaine had to hail a snowplow, which transported the couple to the hospital.[63]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ What Will Magic Be Like in the Future? Big Think, July 8, 2010
  2. ^ If He Can Conjure Magical Ratings, That's Some Trick, The New York Times, May 11, 1997
  3. ^ Magic special turns out to be both Archived November 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Daily News (New York), May 19, 1997
  4. ^ Record of Maureen P. Bukalo, Social Security Death Index.
  5. ^ "Life's a magic box of tricks". The Scotsman. September 20, 2003. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ "David Blaine". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ Finn, Holly. "Through the Plexiglass darkly: David Blaine exposes Britain's nasty underbelly", The Times, September 25, 2003, p. 20.
  8. ^ Behrens, David. "THE ARTr OF WONDER / From performing death-defying stunts to launching readers of his new book on an old-fashioned treasure hunt, David Blaine delights in surprises", Newsday, November 7, 2002. Accessed September 18, 2007. "Later, they moved to Little Falls, New Jersey, where he attended Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls."
  9. ^ "David Blaine: the Man, the Magician". Magic Directory. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ "David Blaine – History of Magic". Magic Tricks For Kids. March 8, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  11. ^ What Will Magic Be Like in the Future? Archived July 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Big Think, July 8, 2010
  12. ^ If He Can Conjure Magical Ratings, That's Some Trick, The New York Times, May 11, 1997
  13. ^ The Wizard of Grunge, Time, May 19, 1997
  14. ^ "Bingo Bango!". Magicdirectory.com. May 27, 2002. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  15. ^ He's a nice guy, that David Blaine, USA Today, November 20, 2000
  16. ^ a b Magician surfaces from watery grave after weeklong burial Archived June 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., CNN, April 12, 1999
  17. ^ Kuntzman, Gersh. Magician Makes It Out Alive, New York Post, April 13, 1999. Accessed April 27, 2012.
  18. ^ Breen, Virginia. Magician is in deep for week-long stunt, Daily News (New York), April 6, 1999. Accessed April 27, 2012.
  19. ^ Americas Magician emerges from grave, BBC News, April 12, 1999
  20. ^ David Blaine0 – Fearless (DVD), Buena Vista Home Entertainment, shows footage of his hospitalization including the exclamation "He is going into shock!"
  21. ^ McKinley, Jesse. Magician Emerges From Icy Stunt, The New York Times, November 30, 2000. Accessed April 27, 2012.
  22. ^ "David Blaine: Electrified and his greatest ever stunts". Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Illusionist Hezi Dean emerges from Tel Aviv ice cube". January 1, 2010.  | work=Herald Sun | accessdate=May 8, 2016
  24. ^ Burkeman, Oliver. New York's pillar-dweller jumps, The Guardian, May 23, 2002. Accessed April 27, 2012.
  25. ^ Dolak, Kevin (October 6, 2012). "David Blaine: 7 of His Most Enduring Performances". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  26. ^ Mysterious Stranger, Copyright 2002 by David Blaine. Published 2002, in the United States and Canada, by Villard Books, a division of Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-375-50573-3. First Edition.
  27. ^ "The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club – Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic". treasureclub.net. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Blaine begins starvation stunt". BBC News. September 5, 2003. Retrieved October 6, 2010. Heard, Chris (September 11, 2003). "All's quiet with Blaine in the rain". BBC News. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  29. ^ a b Illusionist and the facts of life, October 20, 2003
  30. ^ Remarks by the President Bush at Whitehall, "From 9-11 to the Iraq War 2003", November 19, 2003
  31. ^ 2003: David Blaine ends glass box stunt, BBC News, October 19, 2003
  32. ^ Blaine cage attack Archived June 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Evening Standard, September 16, 2003
  33. ^ "Punters expect Blaine to fail". BBC News. September 18, 2003. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  34. ^ What's going on inside David Blaine's body?, BBC News Online, September 25, 2003
  35. ^ Korbonits M; Blaine D; Elia M, Powell-Tuck J (November 2005). "Refeeding David Blaine—studies after a 44-day fast". N. Engl. J. Med. 353 (21): 2306–7. doi:10.1056/NEJM200511243532124. PMID 16306536. 
  36. ^ Refeeding David Blaine: studies after a 44-day fast" Archived December 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., David Blaine Library
  37. ^ Blaine Out For Record, Sky News, May 1, 2006
  38. ^ Cnn.com – David Blaine out of hospital Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "Magician Blaine Ends Times Square Stunt". The Washington Post. November 24, 2006. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  40. ^ Jackson, Kate (May 2, 2008). "As David Blaine breaks the record for holding his breath we find more Superhuman feats". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  41. ^ Tara Burghart (April 30, 2008). "David Blaine breaks world record for holding one's breath". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  42. ^ a b "Longest breath holding-world record set by David Blaine". Worldrecordsacademy.org. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  43. ^ Tierney, John (April 30, 2008). "David Blaine Sets Breath-Holding Record". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Blaine Stunt Could Cause Blindness". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2008. 
  45. ^ "David Blaine is only upside down for 50 minutes per hour". MyParkMag. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. 
  46. ^ "David Blaine Caught Taking Standing-Up Breaks". Foxnews.com. September 23, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  47. ^ Hutchinson, Bill. "David Blaine to risk electrocution in 1 million-volt charge stunt". The New York Daily News. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  48. ^ a b Alexander, Harriet. "David Blaine's 'electrifying' New York stunt", The Daily Telegraph, October 6, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  49. ^ Tierney, John. "If He Starts Nodding Off, Try Another Million Volts", The New York Times, October 1, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  50. ^ "Darren Aronofsky stops by David Blaine’ latest electrifying stunt ", New York Post, October 8, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  51. ^ Johnson, Miranda. "Pharrell Assists David Blaine With Electrocution Stunt ", MTV, October 8, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  52. ^ Berman, Taylor. " Watch: Andrew W.K. Shocks David Blaine With One Million-Volt Keyboard ", MTV, October 8, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  53. ^ Boyle, Alan. "David Blaine gets a checkup after high-voltage stunt". MSNBC. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  54. ^ "He's fine, just a bit frazzled: David Blaine completes One Million Volts stunt in New York after three days playing conductor". Daily Mail. London. October 9, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  55. ^ " David Blaine to Donate Two $1 Million Tesla Coils to Liberty Science Center After ELECTRIFIED Event", Liberty Science Center, October 3, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
  56. ^ Highfill, Samantha. "David Blaine returns to television with celebrity-filled ABC special". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  57. ^ Gavin Edwards (November 19, 2013). "David Blaine's 'Real or Magic': Ranking the Celebrity Reactions". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  58. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Ratings Rat Race: ABC Scores With David Blaine Special, CBS Nabs First Tuesday Win". Deadline.com. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  59. ^ Halperin, Carrie (January 15, 2010). "David Blaine's Times Square Marathon for Haiti". ABC News. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  60. ^ "How I held my breath for 17 minutes". TED. October 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  61. ^ "David Blaine on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  62. ^ "Plow's baby magic for Blaine". New York Post. February 2, 2011. 
  63. ^ "David Blaine's Pregnant Fiancee Hitches Snow Plow to Deliver Baby". UsMagazine.com. February 3, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]