The anti-Blaine contingent is having a field day with his failure to hold his breath for nine minutes (he managed "only" 7 minutes, 10 seconds) after staying submerged on public display in a tank of water for a week. The simple fact is this was a beautiful and ballsy stunt, a great work of performance art that few others would ever even attempt. As Racherbaumer pointed out in the previous post (reprinted from back in 2000!), can you think of any other genuine superstar with the courage and guts to risk not only his reputation, but also his physical health, for something like this?
David Blaine is without serious question the most important magician since Houdini, and he is redefining the boundaries of magic, stunts, and performance art. Many magicians are aparently too jealous and small-minded to understand why he's so great. Last night's special featured some of the most cutting-edge magic ever performed on television, capped by an extraordinarily brave and grueling feat of endurance.
Best of all, Blaine is a man of the people, a magician who brings dignity and grace and wonder to some of the most reviled and feared people in our society. He even took a page from Johnny Cash and brought his magic into a maximum security prison. Throughout his work, Blaine always maintains a stance of humility and generosity towards all people.
The imagery from last night's stunt will stay with us for years. The dense web of symbolism permeating Blaine's work -- Birth, Death, Rebirth - will become more obvious as the years go by.
The naysayers don't know what they're talking about...