Thursday, September 25, 2008
What Did You Think?
Last night was the David Blaine Dive of Death TV special. What I found interesting was that there was very little advertising and publicity (at least in our area) for the show. It wasn't until last week that I even became aware that it was on! You would think that a 2-hour special on a major network would have garnered a little more attention. But with that said, here are my thoughts:
Each David Blaine special I've watched I go back and compare it to the very first one. The first episode was full of close-up magic, although standard effects, it truly did bring a renewed interest to a new generation of budding magicians. Whether his style appealed to you or not, you have to admit that it was a boon to magic in general. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but my personal preferences were specials like the World's Greatest Magic specials that aired for 5 years on Thanksgiving Eve and even David Copperfield and the Doug Henning specials. There was something for everyone in those specials, and there was a great cross section of magic being exhibited. But remember, this is just my opinion. I think that last night's Blaine special was the closest offering to his first endeavor: more street magic, more reactions, more focus on spectators than performer, and out of it came several great effects like Lit and Compression, both of which are now available on our web site.
Unfortunately, however, there is still some question about stooges and confederates and staged performances. Is this really magic? Is it really necessary? When you think of all the money spent and technology available in this day and age, I feel that it is unnecessary. Think of all the pioneers of magic on television, Mark and Nani Wilson, for example: did they have a need for stooges and camera trickery and set up shots? Absolutely not; what you saw was what you got, all in real time, and the best part: they could actually perform these effects again and again if necessary. In other words, none of the effects they performed were a "miracle" that could only be performed on television and not in a live setting. Take, for example, a certain performer with a weekly A&E television special (no need to mention names): in my estimation, he has not pushed forward the advancement of our art, rather he has set it back. Quite a bit, in fact. When non-magicians walk up to me and ask me if I watch that particular show on A&E, I reply "Not any longer." I also think the public is smart enough to discern what is "real magic" and what is camera trickery/stooged/set-up. Performing in this manner is taking the easy way out; ANYONE could do it.
But back to Blaine. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate last night's show a strong 7. I would like to see him get back to basics as he did in his first show (and I know the public agrees with me). It's unfortunate that his final stunt did not come off as planned for live TV, but that's the risk you take. All in all, I believe the real focus of the show should be everything but the finale.
So, now that you know how I feel, let me know how YOU feel. You can email your comments and responses to firstname.lastname@example.org -- I am truly interested in your thoughts.
On another topic, I am proud to announce that Autumn is officially upon us, and I can't wait for those Summer temperatures to magically disappear! Start thinking about your upcoming holiday shows because now is the time to start planning and preparing. Before you know it, the songs of the Winter holidays will arrive, and the New Year will be upon us!
So there you have it. Lots to think about and lots to discuss. Have a great weekend.
Until next time,