Friday, October 12, 2012

Trick Or Treat?

I don't believe in magic. This comes as a great disappointment for my wife, who does. I do, however, enjoy a good trick. Something on the lines of Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast or some sleight of hand, the scale doesn't matter much to me. I enjoy being fooled. For a while.
That may be why I enjoy the "magic" of Penn and Teller. These two will go out of their way to explain how they perform their illusions, step by step. Then they finish up by taking that explanation, throwing it in a blender and making you believe that what you just saw was impossible. I spent a long time after seeing their show in Las Vegas trying to unravel the secrets of their act. I knew it wasn't magic.
Neither is David Blaine. Way back when, as a street performer, I had the same experience when I watched his up-close card and coin work. It made me wonder. "How'd he do that?" Then he started doing things like getting frozen in a block of ice, or hanging upside down for a really long time. These are not tricks. They are, at best, stunts. This past week he spent three days being bombarded by one million volts for three days. The challenge here is holding relatively still for three days. It does make one wonder how he took care of nature's call, but that's still more a logistics concern than magic. One million volts? How many amps, Dave?
Well, as it turns out, that's not really the concern. It's the spectacle, after all, and that's what people pay for. If you can't believe your eyes, look again. I suppose, in the end, David Blaine did deliver on my expectation of a good trick. Only his was more of a P.T. Barnum kind of thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, so first of all, you were a street performer?!?

Second, you don't believe in magic? Not even in a young girl's heart?!?