david blaine: beyond magic

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by justhelping, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. Just saw the special and it was epic (though more actual tricks would always be welcome).
    Especially loved the Jennifer Lawrence trick (even that I cant help but think there was more to it then was shown ..or not and it was a lucky version of dai Vernon's "trick that cant be explained)
    So what was your favorite trick and overall experience of the special?
  2. It was awful. Blaine's presentation sucks the joy and beauty out of magic. His presentation lacks any interest and his character is, well, boring. I know it's his persona, but I personally don't like magicians who don't get excited about their performance. Now you don't have to be Henning or Tamariz like excited, but some level of excitement would be nice. I have to say, I didn't find any portion of it entertaining.
  3. See I feel that he does display much more emotion than before. He's really grown as a performer. That was made especially true in the special before this one. He is no longer the bland performer from his first special. Now when you watch the reactions from people, he really makes them feel the experience, which unfortunately most magicians never achieve. As an artist, that's an amazing accomplishment. We may not like the art of an artist, but DB is certainly a successful one. (granted I felt he did a better job on the last special rather than this one.)

    I would say that for me, I really liked the first effect of the ring on the coat hanger. It's a simple effect, and obviously we have much cut out on the TV viewing, but I found it a clever premise for an effect,and days later it's the one that stuck with me.
  4. Case in point, I've seen a lot of Bill in lemon, kiwi, or other impossible locations, from a variety of magicians, but I have never seen such a visceral reaction like this one: . He's obviously doing something right.

    And even with his stunts, there are tons of opinions on the whether they are tricks or not and that can evoke quite a response as you can see here: (language warning)

    Like him, hate him, or think he's completely nuts, either way he's grown to be a great artist.
  5. Gotta agree..
  6. I definitely think Real or Magic in 2013 was better than Beyond Magic but I enjoyed it overall. I see it as one big promotion and publicity stunt to get hype built for his tour.

    One thing that I did like about this TV special more than the others is the fact that he gave some other performers the spotlight as well including Daniel Garcia, Asi Wind, and Brett Loudermilk.
    Dean Magic likes this.
  7. What David Blaine is doing is treating all magic as if it were real. I think in an interview that's what he said his approach was, What would it look like if a magician could really do magic. There wouldn't be a lot of personality... just magic. I saw in an interview when Garret Thomas was recruited to his team that Garett was showing him a 3 coin vanish sequence and David asked him "Why do you need to do it 3 times? Don't you think I believe you after the first time?" This is very true and something we should all consider. :)
  8. I love David Blaine. Although this special wasn't as good as the last, I still thought it was very entertaining and incredible. Some people don't like him because of his low energy but I think it actually adds to the magic. Magic is about showing the audience something that is impossible and David Blaine does this time and time again. His goal isn't to jump around and excite the audience ( which don't get me wrong can be very entertaining as well ) but to make his magic look real. He makes it look fair, perfect, clean. Doesn't want to distract away from the magic
    Dean Magic likes this.
  9. The problem is that the magic is out of context. It is the old Fitzke (or was it Nelms) saying that making a sandwich appear is interesting, but if your buddy say's I'd love a hot bacon cheese burger and you made it appear THAT is magic. If we could actually do magic, we wouldn't be doing ACAANs or borrowed ring to coathanger or regurgitating frogs (and no, the fact that someone said you could hold a frog in your hand doesn't make it like the sandwich example.). Eugene Burger has a great example of shamanic magic in his book Magic and Meaning - where magic tricks happen as part of rituals. Even with David Blaine, everyone assumes there is an method. Magic is making them forget there is a method.
  10. Much agreed.

    I don't know if that's possible with people (with the exception of a truly gullible individual). We must assume that people will always look for method, and we must lead that search and direct their findings. It's more than a suspension of disbelief. We need to decide what answer we want them to land on, and lead them there.

    I think, especially in this age that people will, in general, be far less willing to suspend disbelief. However, I also feel that people will be easier to fool if we mix in elements of truth. Rat poison is 99% good food and 1% poison. Some of the most convincing magic is where everything lines up, there is truth in the patter, and yet, at a small point there is a deviation from reason. I personally feel that the days of people wanting to see a tiger appear in a box on stage are gone. None of it is believable. That is probably part of why P&T are so successful - they don't assume ignorance of their audience, they assume intelligence, they then tell them truth until a point and then their lies are so much more believable. It's a very different approach than the shaman, yet so similar. No one forgets there is a method, but Penn and Teller lead audience to know there is a method, then lead them astray as to what it actually is, and a shaman leads people to think they are the method (I think there was something in Strong Magic about this. Something about a candle.

    In TV magic, it's sort of like a trick where members of the audience experience a dual reality. We see one thing as a TV audience, and his performance in real life is probably very different. Unlike Harrison Ford, my breath was not taken away that his 'thought of card' was in an orange. But Harrison's reality was different. Both are legitimate 'magical' experiences. But the goal of TV magic is not the same as the goal of a real life performance.
  11. Ha-ha! I just saw it this morning and thought to myself "there's gonna be a thread about this near the top".

    I've been in magic about two years now and this is actually the very first performance I've ever seen in my life! I know, hard to believe. Maybe I had too high of expectations, or I tried to learn from it too much, or maybe it just wasn't exciting. But I actually wasn't that much of a fan. His presentation felt very cut and dry, and it just didn't feel like..."magic". It felt like he lacked a certain charisma that makes it fun. Even nowadays, when I'm somewhat acquainted with illusion, I still see that one magician where the effect feels special. I just didn't see that with Blaine.

    ^This is very true. Heck, I'd put that as a signature.
  12. Some interesting thoughts in this thread.

    You know how people say that magic is an art that should be seen live? I think that applies to Blaine's stuff, too. We see the people's reactions to his stuff, and it's big. Of course, some of that is from selective editing and the fact that there's a camera there at all, I know. But there's no way he'd be where he was if he didn't have something going for him, some kind of X Factor that magicians just aren't seeing in the specials. And I will also say that I only hear about how boring and wooden he is from magicians, not laymen. I'm sure people will be able to tell me there are laymen that think he's boring, too, but in my experience it's mostly magicians that don't like his stuff. And they are certainly entitled to their opinions.

    I like the approach Blaine has to magic - to treat it like it's real. I question some of his trick choices, but I appreciate that approach. Philosophically I also approach magic the same way - I perform as if I'm doing the real deal (In many cases, I am). I feel that, at least in the US, people are craving magic that is more ... I don't know, visceral doesn't seem like the right word but it's the only one that comes to mind. They want some depth to their entertainment these days, they want to genuinely be given a reason to think there may be more to this world than what they are seeing. Blaine, I think, had a pretty big impact on getting that rolling in the laymen's minds.
    Justin.Morris likes this.
  13. Normally when I perform close-up magic I'm a gentlemen with a quick wit. That's my character and usually works very well for me, Most of my effects are scripted and I've done the hundreds if not thousands of times. However last Friday I had to do a close-up up show for a bunch of 22 year old drunk hockey jocks. The worst possible audience ever... I dropped my fun personality and went full David Blaine. My first effect was walking into the centre of the room putting some light bulbs on the floor, stepping on them and eating them. That is what that situation called for and it worked VERY well. They went from heckling me before I started to having their full attention for the next hour. There is a certain power in the way David performs we only get to see it in his audience reactions. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not! But he is a genius. He ushered in a new era of magic. The difference in Blaines presentation is if you could actually do an ACAAN and had that power and attempt to do the closest to that effect as possible rather than question if he has real magical abilities why is he doing an ACAAN.
  14. David Blaine has a lot of emotion when performing what are you talking about RealityOne? He connects with his audience almost every time he performs. Besides, he has been performing longer than you or me and he is famous around the world. Also brought magic out from under the rock with his street magic debut. I would never bash a professional like him.
  15. Incorrect
  16. Yeah, that's true. I didn't think about that. Different circumstances call for different reactions. i.e. different personalities. To me, it didn't feel like that, though. Eh, but what do I know?
  17. What you are saying is in line with Tamariz's The Magic Way but my sense is that the disguise of or distraction for the method should be a result of design and not presentation. That is, it should be unnoticeable as opposed to the "you think I did it this way, didn't you?" like the Hippity Hoppity Rabbits.

    I agree that is more than a theatrical suspension of disbelief but more of a willing desire to believe. We know that the effects in Marvel movies are a combination of stuntmen, special effects and computer generated graphics combined to present an illusion but do we care? No. Nobody in the audience sits there and tries to figure out how the effects are done. Rather, they are so engaged in the movie they decide to forget they know the effects aren't real. You can be so engaging that the audience wants to believe it is magic because otherwise the illusion isn't nearly as enjoyable.

    I'm not sure saying "watch this" in a constipated voice qualifies as a lot of emotion. If you pay attention to the audience, there really isn't that connection. His persona requires that he keep a psychological distance from the audience -- otherwise he wouldn't be "mysterious." Length of time performing and fame doesn't matter. There are a lot of musicians, actors and comedians that are famous and have been doing it a long time that I don't care to see. I'd rather watch Copperfield, Mark Kalin, Don Hobson, Kevin James or Steve Cohn that David Blaine.
    Lindel and Justin.Morris like this.
  18. I mostly agree with David (Reality One) here, but even though his presentation is minimal to a fault, I still find David to be one of the most entertaining and intriguing magicians to watch. It seems to me that many magicians are trying "too hard" to entertain, and they come off very awkwardly--their humor is flat, the patter is over the top, the gags are ridiculous. I watch a lot of acts on Penn and Teller's Fool Us, and I would say a good one-third of the performers (even the ones that fool Penn and Teller!) are out of touch with their audience. David Blaine seems fairly out of touch as well, but in a much less obnoxious way--I'll take it.

    What David does really well is come off as a "normal" guy. That is, he is not performing; he's just doing his thing. He makes it seem like magic and breathing come equally to him. Unfortunately because he's not really performing for people, he doesn't give them a reason to care. Reality One's quote about the sandwich is spot on. A really masterful performer makes you want that sandwich before he gives it to you--this is something David Blaine has never excelled at.

    Also, despite his lack of presentation, David Blaine is an expert at audience management and quick thinking. Say what you will about his performances, but his skills are on point.
    Lindel likes this.
  19. Don't get me started... I'll watch Penn and Teller's Fool Us despite not liking the premise which reinforces that magic is a game where the magician tries to fool the audience and the audience tries to figure it out. I'm pretty sure that 90% of the acts either narrate the adventures of the props in the magician's hands or use presentations that are so tired and worn out that they are cringeworthy.

    No doubt his skills and methods are top notch.
  20. Interesting that you cite both Fitzkee and Eugene Burger as I am sure I've heard Eugene Burger state he can't stand the Fitzkee trilogy.

    Plus Mr Burger presents 'tricks' as well. Outside of the seance-type stuff, not everything he does has deep meaning. Think about his 'Worlds Fastest Card Trick' or his Three Coin Vanish. He does 'adventure of the props' patter and it still works. Not everything has to have some real life context as this is entertainment, not a life lesson. I've seen him use a plastic toy robot to find a card. Are we suggesting there is some deep lesson behind that or is it just because it's fun?

    Sometimes you just need to do the trick and let people be amazed. I know you're a fellow Bannon fan, and his magic is full of that kind of thing as he tales the attitude that card tricks don't have to be sugar coated with other nonsense and that they are inherently interesting if you do them well.

    I'm not sure I've ever really bought the 'If you could do real magic would you being doing card tricks' argument. Point is, we can't do real magic, so the point is kind of moot really. Why kid ourselves that we're going to convince them otherwise just because we choose to make a sandwich appear rather than link two rings together? Are we not insulting their intelligence slightly by expecting them to not think there is not a method behind it?

    Let's just swing it the other way for a moment for the sake of making another 'point'. You also mentioned that you don't like Blaine's performance because he doesn't 'get excited ' about the magic. Well let's consider this: if you could really do magic, would you get excited about it every time you did it or would it just become 'normal' to you? Blaine doesn't get excited because he acts like it's 'nothing' to him, it's just what he does.

    Just a few thoughts, you may disagree or not but I enjoy the conversation. I rather this than the 'Where can a buy/learn the XXXXX trick Blaine did...' threads!


    PS: I live in the UK so haven't actually seen this yet. Apparently it's going to be aired in December sometime...so my opinion may change once I actually get to see it!
    Chris.Gowen and Lindel like this.

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