American Icon: David Blaine
Not many people can make you cringe in disgust without turning the channel. David Blaine falls into that minuscule category because, well, he is not like most people.
Earlier this month, the street magician, illusionist and endurance artist did just that for over 1.5 million viewers - not to mention Drake, Dave Chappelle, David Beckham and Johnny Depp - who all watched in a combination of shock, wonder, awe and amusement at the latest stunts he performed in his one-hour special, Beyond Magic.
His work is the type that should always be prefaced with a “Don’t try this at home” warning. And perhaps a “Don’t eat dinner and watch this at the same time” one as well. That’s what happens when you see Blaine regurgitating not one or two, but three frogs while in the company of a disbelieving Drake, Stephen Curry and Dave Chappelle.
During another astounding trick, Emma Stone and Beckham look on as Blaine puts a clothes hanger in his mouth, all to pull out a ring that he had swallowed minutes before.
Perhaps the most impressive (and disturbing) feat occurs when the 43-year-old shoots a .22 caliber bullet into his mouth. Yes, he’s wearing a mouth guard, but there’s an unsettling nature to the stunt as we watch Blaine line up a laser pointer at his mouth before he pulls the trigger himself.
While it appears he has a death wish, watching Blaine discuss the body’s capacity to control its gag reflex as he talks with a professional sword swallower proves otherwise. He is interested in what the body and mind can achieve when pushed to its limits.
He spoke of this in 2009 during a TED talk when he remarked that, “I also try to challenge myself to do things that doctors say is not possible.”
At an early age, he became obsessed with Houdini which is where he discovered his love of not only magic, but physical and mental endurance. As a teenager, Blaine was able to hold his breath for 3:30, breaking his idol’s record.
As an adult, Blaine’s achievements have only grown since starting out as a street magician. He buried himself alive in a coffin underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank in New York City for seven days. He froze himself inside a block of ice for three days and three nights. And he held his breath under water for 17 minutes, 4 seconds, breaking the previous record of 16 minutes, 32 seconds held by Switzerland’s Peter Colat.
While this may seem trivial to the average bystander, there is a seriousness with which Blaine conducts his work. He not only studies the mind and body, but he experiments with it in ways that enable him to test its capacity for withstanding sleep, enduring physical pain and suffering mental anguish. There may be a sense of recklessness to it, but he’s also tapping into our own capabilities, proving that the impossible is possible.
Of course, it didn’t come over night. In the same 2009 TED talk, Blaine ends by tearfully explaining that magic is, “practice, it’s training, it’s experimenting while pushing through the pain to be the best that I can be.”
When we think of David Blaine, Quay Australia (click here) comes to mind. The relatively new brand of sunglasses for women is a head turner and showstopper. Like magic, the brand is fun without skimping on quality. On the men’s side, Blaine reminds us of Ray-Ban (clickhere) which has a longstanding commitment to excellence, all while maintaining a cool, hip vibe that continues to stand the test of time.
Words of an Icon: “We are all capable of infinitely more than we believe.” – David Blaine