David Blaine makes us wonder why is he still alive?
A list of celebrities David Blaine mystifies with his gut wrenching magic include: David Beckham, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Steph Curry, Dave Chappelle, Drake, Margot Robbie, Patrick Stewart, Emma Stone, and more!
I’ve watched The Prestige enough times to know what magic really is—a combination of illusion, salesmanship, mystery, spectacle and, in this modern era, expert video editing. David Blaine does all these things well and also happens to be a con artist, braver and more bizarre than most of his peers. The one thing he excels at the most, though, is continuously getting people to wonder what the hell is wrong with him and how he’s going to die from this.
By even titling his special Beyond Magic, he suggests that the extraordinary things he does defy categorization and that’s his obvious first trick. The announcer in the intro immediately plays into it, claiming, “This is not only magic. It is the spectacle of the real.” Blaine survives off this wonderment, though he’s aware that most things humans experience can be explained by practical applications of things like math, science and logic, and so he uses them to grand effect as magicians do (the special also refers to him as an “endurance artist”). He’s also very weird and crazy.
Certain so-called tricks Blaine has done (eating glass, holding his breath for 17 minutes under water) simply require him to be bold enough to test his body limits and, more important, to learn techniques that allow him to do so. Others—catching a bullet—require a foolish level of audacity. The first trick he performs in this special (see the clip below) is swallowing wedding rings. He’s filmed doing it on separate occasions in front of celebrities and their family and friends, including John Travolta, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Patrick Stewart, Margot Robbie and Emma Stone.
After swallowing the ring—and successfully freaking out the participants who momentarily think their ring is gone forever—Blaine shows them his empty mouth and later grabs a wire hanger to retrieve the ring. He asks all the celebrities to pull out the hanger from his mouth. “You want me to pull that. Okay,” slurs Johnny Depp. Somehow, the ring appears on the wire and everyone either screams or stares blankly. “That’s ridiculous,” says Beckham.
There are questions: How did the ring get on the hanger? How much time passed in between when Blaine swallowed the ring and when he obtained the wire hanger? Where did this hanger come from? Why does everyone he performs the trick for somehow have a wire hanger? ’Cause I don’t! Who has wire hangers?!
There are explanations, but I don’t know, and the point is that people pretend to want answers but few of us actually do. We all know by now that Blaine’s appeal—and magic in general—isn’t about the magic itself, but rather stupefying people into believing what the magician is accomplishing is real. That Blaine has duped people into believing he’s a sorcerer is the real trick, from a person who’s learned to become alarmingly good at deception. I love it. Toward the beginning of the special, Blaine video chats with Jennifer Lawrence and does a card trick, after which J. Law further sells his magic skills by telling him he can’t die and, “If you started a religion I would follow it.”
Throughout this special, we learn a bit about Blaine’s process, which consists of deep research and consultations with medical experts who advise him over and over again not to do all these wild stunts, though he never listens. When he talks in his frightening monotone voice about a magician named Mac Norton who called himself a human aquarium, the point is that Blaine wants to learn this, too. “He had the ability to contort his stomach into a home where creatures could live and bring them up on command.” Blaine says he’s spent 10 years trying to “figure out his secret.”
In the special, we see him demonstrating that part of this trick is “overriding the gag reflex,” and he proceeds to get training from a sword swallower. It seems that Blaine has learned because after this segment, he performs a routine where he regurgitates live frogs in front of a group that includes Drake, Dave Chappelle and Steph Curry. They’re all flabbergasted. Knowing that Blaine has learned to swallow swords helps us to understand this and also the hanger trick earlier, but only a little. But anyone who doesn’t know or see any of this background would be like, what the fuck.
The main event of this special and of Blaine’s career so far is the bullet catch, which he did in 2009 in front of a live audience at the MGM Grand Arena. “The deadliest feat in magic is the bullet catch,” Blaine tells us in the special, adding that 12 magicians have died and they were only faking it. He’s doing it FOR REAL, using a mixture of science and fearlessness. “There’s no margin for error,” he says in a voiceover, making sure to sell how dangerous it is. When his friend, who plays the role of the distraught doubter in his circle, asks a good question—Why is he doing this for real and not just faking it—Blaine says, “’Cause it wouldn’t be fun.”
So we see scenes of Blaine at the dentist preparing a mold to help him catch the bullet. And his friend says, “If you do this stunt and you die, it’s the opposite of inspiring the person.” Blaine makes it through and lives, of course, despite having the bullet mouthguard break in his mouth twice. At the end, there’s a creepy convo between him and his friend about mortality and the fact that he might die on stage. “That’s not how I’m gonna die,” he says. “That’s not how I’m dying.” The special suggest there’s a chance he might, though, because it ends with this message on screen: “David Blaine plans on performing his bullet catch as part of an upcoming world tour.”
The one part of this special that freaked me out was Blaine’s mind trick with Margot Robbie. He tells her to think of a memory only she would know, something that Blaine can’t research, and then to find some random word in an article on her phone using search results. He ends up writing the words she’s thinking of (“bunny” and “numerous”) on her hand. There may be something Robbie said in a pre-interview that the show didn’t reveal to the audience, or a crucial portion they removed in editing. Either way, we’re left wondering if Blaine is now, in addition to being a weird magician, also a medium. And also, how is it that he hasn’t died yet.
@clovitoSenior Writer, Jezebel
Source: The Muse
I was so excited to see America's Got Talent's guest star Darcy Oake who is a Canadian Illusionist that became famous from his international performance on Britain's Got Talent in 2014 where he came in 5th place. Since then he went on a UK tour in 2015 and now he has just performed for America's Got Talent in 2016 there performed literally the exact same act but with some very noticeable differences from his act 2 years. Watching the 2 videos I have below you will see they really are essentially the exact same act...with one major difference which is in 2016, he's got a much BIGGER show with a lot more Glitz and Glam.
But there is one thing that you may not have noticed if you haven't seen his 2014 recently. I noticed an subtle yet extreme difference in Darcy's stage presence in his 2016 performance which really made me dislike watching it. You see in 2014 Darcy wasn't famous, he was just talented! His dove magic was and still is extremely impressive. However, in 2016 he performs with an arrogance, he comes across as very cocky, and it seems that he has let the fame go to his head. I have never met Darcy so I don't know if he is actually like this in person or not, but I can tell you that it certainly does come across that way in his show.
Now don't get me wrong here, Darcy is still Extremely talented and puts on an amazing show. I'm just saying that I would be much more excited about seeing the 2014 Darcy than the 2016 Darcy that I just witnessed. I hope that this was just a one time occurrence with being on A.G.T. plus all the hype that comes along with that, and not something that he does in other performances. I guess it could even be the directors of A.G.T. making him perform with an attitude from all his rehearsals for that show. But I suppose time will tell and I hope that Darcy continues to do well as he does have a tremendous show to offer, he continues to perform amazing illusions and escapes! Congrats on your success Darcy and I wish you the best!
- Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
I talk a lot about niche markets and the importance of finding your own but I haven't went into depth on how to create a niche market for yourself. You see finding the right target audience for your entertainment is not an easy thing to determine for most magicians. You really have to first determine what type of magic you want to perform: Stage Illusions, Close-up Magic, Comedy Magic, a Variety Act, etc.. Once you know this it will certainly help you narrow down the options for who your will want to hire you. There is one person who comes to mind who has really struck gold on creating a market for himself and that is Brian Brushwood. If you have ever seen the FX TV Show or his YouTube Channel called Scam School then you have seen Brian Brushwood. I can't say enough amazing things about how impressed I am by Brian's creativity with dominating the college age market. Brian's premise for Scam School is having a weekly show dedicated to teaching you tricks to impress your friends, scam your way in to free drinks and just be all around interesting! Brian Brushwood teaches you everything from card tricks to fire eating and everything in between.
So for 10 plus years Brian's focus has been on the college market, which has put him in front of some impressive size crowds over the course of his career with his live stage show. I can tell you that it was because of Brian Brushwood that inspired me to learn circus side show acts, especially with how to fire eat. Which also inspired me to learn all about fire breathing, fire juggling, fire poi, and pretty much anything to do with fire performing. Even still more recently I took a class from the worlds best fire eater from all the way Down Under in Australia, the amazing Shade Flamewater. Shade also has a great deal of respect for Brushwood and all he has done to teach fire eating in a safe and professional manner for people all around the world who watch his video or anyone how has read his book: The Professional's Guide to Fire Eating.
The amount of information that Brian has shared in his lifetime is simply incredible, he has made his career by becoming a teacher of magic, and circus performance acts, thru and incredible outlet with scam school. Majority of the people watching don't even realize the amount of skill and talent that Brian has. They are just wanting to learn a cool trick they can impress their friends with but Brian is actually sharing with them some really clever techniques that entertainers and magicians use to fool their spectators. Brian just puts a twist on it by doing it in a bar environment, so that you can then do the same and possibly get free drinks from a bar tender or patrons around the bar.
The number of awards that Brian has received is absolutely incredible and I can say that I am very grateful for all the Brian has done and continues to do. I will always be a huge fan, keep up the good work Brushwood! You Rock!
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
It's become commonplace to magicians to do some incredible magic and illusions that shock or even scare their audience. Why are magicians attracted to this type of magic? Well it's because it freaks people out! That freak out moment has such an impact because it is a trick that is so unreal that it goes beyond anything the audience can ever imagine possible. Some examples of magicians who do this type magic would be Criss Angel with his swallowing of a signed quarter and then cutting open his arm as blood rushes out to find the signed coin from his spectator. You might think of the anti-conjuror Dan Sperry when he eats a life saver on America's Got Talent then takes some dental floss and digs it into his neck to reveal the life saver whole again and on the dental floss.
Another artist that might come to mind is David Blaine when he drinks gallons of water followed by a glass full of very flammable kerosene and then regurgitates the lighter fluid first as he breathes fire with it onto Jimmy Kimmel's desk setting a trash can and its contents on fire. Blaine then proceeds to regurgitate the water and extinguishes the flames with all that water he drank. So this by the way is not magic...yes David Blaine is a magician but what he did here was an amazing skill of learning what is called Water Spouting which is a very dangerous and potentially deadly stunt. What's most impressive is the story behind this where David Blaine actually saw this act performed by Hadji Ali.
Hadji Alie was a vaudeville performance artist, thought to be of Egyptian descent, who was famous for acts of controlled regurgitation. His best-known feats included water spouting, smoke swallowing, and nut and handkerchief swallowing followed by disgorgement in an order chosen by the audience. Ali's most famous stunt, and the highlight of his act, was drinking copious amounts of water followed by kerosene, and then acting by turns as a human flamethrower and fire extinguisher as he expelled the two liquids onto a theatrical prop. While these stunts were performed, a panel of audience members was invited to watch the show up close to verify that no trickery was employed.
On a video online of a man by the name of Winston Carter in a very destitute and poverty stricken country in Africa. Winston Carter who at the time was a 35 year old security guard. So in the video Carter is able to use his own regurgitated water to be able to brush his teeth, and even fill up an entire water bottle spouting the water with a powerful stream from his lips. Blaine was so fascinated by this that he set out on a mission to contact this Carter and after 3 years of posting flyers, and putting ads in newspapers, until he was finally able to track him down. In 2013 Blaine was able to have Carter teach him the technique to perform this incredible stunt. The reason this is so fascinating to me is not that Blaine can do it, but his determination and great lengths that he went thru to learn the technique. It just goes to show why David Blaine is as popular of a magician as he is, it is because when he sets his mind on a goal he goes above and beyond the realm of what is conceivably possibility to prepare himself to amaze his next crowd. I must admit I do really love how Blaine was able to take this and incorporate it into a street magic performance revealing a name onto the pavement with the spouted water as a form of mentalism.
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
There’s an old saying, I believe that WC Fields said it first: “Never work with Animals or Kids”.
So...Yep, I do both! Why? Because the payoff is great! You never know what can happen. It’s always a surprise. Having live animals in my show wasn't really something I wanted to do in the beginning. I mean I have always loved animals but I just didn't really want to take the time to train animals as I just wanted to perform magic. Well I frequently was asked if I could add animals to my show, and eventually I gave in and I got an iguana...but why an iguana? It was because I decided I wanted to be different from anyone else, most magicians have a rabbit or some doves. I wanted to have an animal that no one else would ever expect a magician to have and after doing some research on what type of animals were exotic but tame enough to be in a show and around children an iguana seemed to be the best option for me.
So once I started performing with an animal I don't really know how but I went from 1 to now having 28 exotic animals! I guess I got a little carried away but I love it. My show is so much more exciting the more animals I make appear or transform into other animals. And what's best for me is the scare factor, you wouldn't believe the reaction I get when I transform 2 doves into 2 snakes. NO ONE is expecting it and when it happens there is a moment of panic and then the reality sets in that they are real, but as I place the snakes on a willing volunteer the audience comes to realize that the snakes are are safe! This moment is the most incredible moment I have ever witnessed in my 17 years of performing. This moment affects every age group, the adults, the kids, the grandparents, and anyone else watching the show is so captivated by what they are experiencing. Being able to connect with every emotion of my audience really gives me a rush and I thrive for that as a performer!
So when you think of exotic animal magicians the biggest names that come to mind are Siegfried & Roy consisting of Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn. I think everyone knows about what happened to Roy but for anyone who may not he was injured by one of his tigers on stage which significantly changed his life and appearance forever.
Wikipedia says: Siegfried and Roy are a German-American duo of former stage magicians and entertainers who became known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers.From 1990 until Roy's severe onstage injury ended their stage careers on October 3, 2003, the duo formed Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, which was regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Roy's injury has generally been reported as an attack by a tiger involved in the show, although the two magicians have disputed that account – saying instead that he suffered a stroke and that any injury by the tiger was secondary and accidental. The duo staged a brief comeback performance in 2010 before leaving show business for good. They now run a menagerie at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
It was a horrible thing that happened to Roy, but I'm sure he would say he would do it again as long as an audience member wouldn't get hurt. These 2 men are some of the most humble and loving human beings you will ever meet. The have some much love of all life on earth, and have devoted their lives to sharing that love with world! In 2010 Seigfreid and Roy performed their last show together, it was a tribute before the curtains would fall down forever, a sample of courage, bravery, love and especially forgiving. Seigfried and Roy you will always be in our hearts and in every magician's performance, your soul will be alive forever.
-Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
How does a Magician become an international star? What is it that makes their skills become so desired that clients are willing to fly them, all the equipment, and all their staff around the world to put on a phenomenal show?
I have been studying a lot of millionaires as it has been said that if you want to become a millionaire, then you need to do what millionaires do...follow their habits, and practice what they preach. Well the same applies if you want to become an internationally acclaimed illusionist. So if you going to study one of the biggest magicians in the world then the first name that comes to my mind is Franz Harary.
Franz Harary is an American magician and a genius magic inventor. Franz has appeared on many television shows such as NBC's The World's Greatest Magic, on which Harary made a space shuttle vanish. Designing Illusions was simply a hobby for Harary in the beginning. Between 1982 and 1984, Harary's Odyssey In Illusion team designed and executed illusions for ballet troupes, ice revues, marching bands, and symphony orchestras. It was featured on ABC-TV's live telecast of the 1983 Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit. At the end of 1983, Harary sent Michael Jackson a videotape of Odyssey In Illusions greatest hits and within a week was invited to perform as part of the Jacksons' "Victory Tour" in 1984. Harary made Jackson levitate and disappear on one side of the stage and reappear with his brothers on the other side. Among other music acts he has designed illusions for are N*SYNC, Cher, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Tone Loc, Styx, Dr. Dre, Usher, Boyz II Men, Queen Latifah, Hammer, Tina Turner, Reba McEntire and Missy Elliott.
Franz has a spectacular performance that can fill any venue with gasps of amazement and thunderous applause! But that's not where he stops, he can been seen touring the world designing incredible illusions and not just for other performers. Last month Franz was in India for a secret illusion project. Where he designed the world's first 360° levitation of its kind! He developed a levitating car illusion that spectators could walk about around entirely and see completely above and below the car! It was NOT a digital effect, this was real! It's a brand-new illusion design, and Harary is very proud of it, as he should be!
I can only hope that one day I might be able to see one of Franz Harary's performances as it would certainly be a thrilling and incredible experience.
-Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
“Coining the term Mega Magic, Franz Harary has created his own electrifying genre of grand illusion, becoming synonymous with spectacle magic entertainment.”
For over 17 years I have considered myself a variety act performer, but basically the talents that I have learned, have been based on the demand from my clients, or what I find interesting at that time. For example I started off as a clown making balloon animals, doing face painting, juggling, stilt walking, and of course magic. For many years I just focused on being the best that I could at those skills and really honing in on my talent. Then after about 10 years I got to a plateau point where I was very talented, but I was bored with doing the same things and wanted to learn something new. So as my career has progressed I have ventured into some dangerous performance styles, I decided I didn't need the clown makeup anymore and I wanted to really focus on magic as my profession. I learned how to be a fire eater, then a fire breather, I experimented with all fire related magic, fire juggling, etc. So I could put together an entire routine based around fire. This is where I put my life on the line for my audience. Now there are certainly others out there that have been in far more danger than I have put myself in, but its all about the thrill you provide for that audience.
So I want to discuss someone who has recently went viral for a video he did of something that is just brilliant and is also directly related to another one of my talents with bubbles. I do an entire magic show themed around bubbles, which I came up with for my library shows and it was such a big hit I have continued to do it for anyone who desires a bubble themed magic show. You may have seen the viral video of a British Gent dressed to impress in his pinstripe suit with a Sherlock Holmes style pipe and blowing bubbles live on stage at the London Palladium. What I must say here is it really isn't about what he did, but rather how he did it! Denis Lock presented bubbles in a genius way with old world charm and class. The bubble tricks he did were very impressive and does take a great deal of practice and skill to pull off the way that he did. However, this isn't the point. The point is that Denis Lock is a multi-talented performer and he does a spectacular dangerous balancing act that is unlike anyone else I have ever seen. (Video Below).
Denis Lock is able to captivate the audience regardless of if he is a solo act, or when he performs with The English Gents, demonstrating how he is in peak physical condition, plus he has a talent that will leave you astounded. Better yet, he is witty and charming while he performs, so he is able to connect with his audience in a brilliant way. I am so impressed by how he presents his performances that I feel it goes above and beyond his incredible talents! And I think magician could learn a lot from his performance style. His routines are so well thought out, and I hope that one day I have the opportunity to discuss with Denis how he plans his acts.
- Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.