A NEW ERA OF MAGIC
“David Blaine is the greatest magician who ever lived.” Howard Stern made that on-air proclamation, a sentiment echoed by Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller, who referred to Blaine’s Street Magic as “the best TV magic special ever done.” Blaine was just twenty- three when Street Magic first aired on ABC, transforming televised magic by turning the camera on the audience. Spectators at home could feel the visceral reaction of people being astonished. The New York Times went on to declare that Blaine had “taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it,” while The New Yorker prominently stated “he saved magic.”
“Buried Alive,” Blaine’s first live stunt, was a feat even Houdini was unable to do in his lifetime. Entombed in an underground plastic box beneath a three ton water tank for seven days with no food and little water, Blaine would draw strength from the 75,000 visitors who came to the event beside the Hudson River, topping foot traffic at both the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty combined. Upon emerging Blaine remarked, “I saw a vision of every race, religion, and age group banding together.”
LIVE ON STAGE
In 2014, having revolutionized modern magic and mesmerized audiences worldwide for nearly 20 years, Blaine embarked on his first-ever live tour. It was his dream to put everything he worked for into one show. With a death-defying stunt and series of jaw-dropping magic effects, he marked his Middle East debut with a show at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace.
On May 30th 2017, David launched his first-ever North American tour, of 40 cities, beginning in San Diego, CA. It was an unforgettable interactive experience that both shocked and amused. An experiment in and of itself, the tour evolved as it moved across the country as David Blaine continued to push the limits and attempted new feats for the first time live in front of his audiences.
In 2019, Blaine announced his first-ever tour of the UK and Ireland, the ‘Real or Magic’ tour which received rave reviews. “David Blaine is arguably the best magician currently living on this planet” said Charlie Wilks writing for broadwayworld.com. He went on to say “the evening feels like a once in a lifetime experience. If Blaine ever performs again, beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket.”
Blaine’s stunts continued to defy the boundaries of human endurance, each one becoming more death-defying than the last. For “Frozen In Time,” Blaine encased himself in large block of ice in Times Square. When he was cut free with chainsaws after nearly 64 hours, 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.” Yet the stunt was a ratings bonanza for ABC, helping the network to win its sweeps that year. Next Blaine upped the ante even further with “Vertigo,” standing atop a 100 foot tall pillar in Bryant Park for 36 hours without a safety net, then leaping into a stack of cardboard boxes on live television.
THE WORLD OF SCIENCE TAKES NOTICE
“Above The Below” put Blaine on the center of the world stage, capturing the attention of a nation for 44 days in Great Britain, with no food inside a transparent box above the River Thames. The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper that documented his fast which resulted in the loss of 25% of his body weight. For “Drowned Alive,” Blaine spent one week submerged in a sphere-shaped aquarium at Lincoln Center. His name became the most widely searched on Google, and Yale University studied him to determine the human physiological reaction to prolonged submersion. Blaine went on to break a Guinness record for breath holding, live on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he held his breath for over 17 minutes. “Electrified” saw Blaine on the receiving end of one million volts discharged at him continuously for 72 hours from seven Tesla coils atop a 22-foot high pillar. Ascension, Blaine’s last stunt to date shattered YouTube Originals live viewership records with 770k concurrent views, making it the most watched YTO live stream when it launched. Additionally, Ascension sky-rocketed to the #1 trending spot on Twitter in the US and also #1 trending on YouTube. The VODs amassed over 43M views in less than a week.
SHARING THE MAGIC
Since he was 18, Blaine has been regularly doing magic for some of the kids and staff at Bridges Juvenile Center and Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx, and has spent many holidays touring hospitals around the US, doing magic for patients, their families and friends and hospital workers. He has for years been a visitor at the Brooke Army Medical Center and a supporter of Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center, amongst many others.
During the Covid pandemic in 2020, Blaine continued his hospital magic shows remotely via FaceTime and Zoom, with a particular focus on providing a few minutes of light relief and distraction for the frontline doctors, nurses and other health workers. In his own words, “the greatest satisfaction as a magician is bringing joy to people who can really use it. I’m so happy to do anything to show that I appreciate what they are all doing and going through.”
THE NEXT CHAPTER
In addition to the many millions who have seen him on television, Blaine has also performed live for audiences of over 20,000 in arenas around the world. He has performed privately for every sitting American president since Bill Clinton, including for Barack Obama in the Oval Office, as well as for other international leaders, and prominent figures such as Henry Kissinger, Michael Bloomberg, Stephen Hawking, and Muhammad Ali. Blaine’s 2009 TED talk ‘How I held my breath for 17 minutes’ is one of Bill Gates’ personal favourites, and is widely considered the most revealing testimony Blaine has ever given on the topic of his remarkable career.