September 24, 2008

"He has to urinate against gravity, which is not good for the kidneys."

David Blaine is annoying everyone again, yet we're supposed to sympathize.


Concerned Citizen said...

There is no movie of Philippe Petit walking between the tops of the Twin Towers. Only still photos.

He walked back and forth eight times...for 45 minutes, even taking the time to sit down on the look down!

Then there's the Great Blondin..."Blondin especially owed his celebrity and fortune to his idea of crossing the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope, 1100 feet (335 m) long, 160 feet (50 m) above the water. This he accomplished, first on June 30, 1859, a number of times, always with different theatric variations: blindfold, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelette."

Bissage said...

(1) If hanging upside down isn’t even magic (and it’s certainly not mime), then it’s not even “performance.”

The rule was laid down first in an episode of “Family Guy.”

“Nice effort Brad, but let's remember our performance hierarchy: legitimate theatre, musical theatre, stand-up, ventriloquism, magic, mime.”

(2) Does anyone else remember this silly 1980s health fad? Link. I think it was featured prominently in a montage scene in “American Gigolo” when Richard Gere was preparing for a night on the town.

Dumb, dumb, dumb movie!

I wish I could erase the brain cells that remember it so I could put them to better use.

(3) He has to urinate against gravity, which is not good for the kidneys.

As annoying as he is, if David Blain passes a kidney stone while he’s up there, I am ready, willing and able to become his biggest fan.

But I'll have to redefine him as a comedian because I will laugh and laugh and laugh!

Concerned Citizen said...

In 1752 Ben Franklin invented the world's first flexible urinary catheter for his brother who had a bladder or kidney stone or something.

(Apparently no one had ever thought of creating a flexible instrument for this purpose. Ow. Ow. Ow.)

He later used his invention to attend to his own needs, and folklore has it that he tried standing on his head to resolve his problem.

Thus passes a little-known fact in the stream of history.

Bissage said...

I’ve passed three kidney stones without ever resorting to the advice once given to me by a kindly pharmacist who said he gets them “all the time.”

He said, “Go down to the basement, drink beer and jump up and down.”


SteveR said...

When it comes to things urological, I cannot afford to elevate the degree of difficulty. However no sympathy for those who do and suffer the consequences.

mcg said...

As the article states he takes periodic breaks where---yes---he gets to stand upright.

Peter V. Bella said...

Talk about pissing up a rope!

zeek said...

I want David Blaine's next stunt to be sitting on a couch eating chips and drinking beer for about 3 hours of prime time a night. For the viewers at home it will be like looking in a mirror.

William said...

There is something very strange about David Blaine, and it attracts the eye. He lives in a different dimension and operates by a different accounting system than other people in public life. His personality seems to be a strange combo of publicity whore and serenity, self destruction and creativity. He inspires intrigue and annoyance in varying waves at the same time....I remember Christo's exhibit of the Gates in Central Park. It seemed to me that the people who were annoyed by the whole extravagant excess of the show enjoyed their annoyance more than the people who enjoyed the aesthetics of the exhibition....Perhaps Blaine's sleight of hand is directed not at the eyes but at the emotions.

Tibore said...

"He has to urinate against gravity, which is not good for the kidneys...

Sooooo.... what about that is important, Dr. Napolitano? If I go out in public and beat my head with a hammer, is that performance art? After all, it's not good for my brain.

Concerned Citizen said...

She took a folded postcard from her handbag,
—Read that, she said. He got it this morning.
—What is it? Mr Bloom asked, taking the card. U.P.?
U.P.: up, she said. Someone taking a rise out of him. It's a great shame for them whoever he is.
—Indeed it is, Mr Bloom said.

Ellman got it wrong.

Fred4Pres said...

Can someone explain to me the attraction of David Blaine? He hangs upside down and pisses himself? Is this magic or just self inflicted torture.

So we can expect next year Blaine will lock himself in a plexiglass box and will live for several months off his own feces and urine. In five years Blaine saw off some of his limbs with a chainsaw and then have a team of physicians sew them back on without using painkillers (all on TV)? Where is this going?

kimsch said...

"He has to urinate against gravity, which is not good for the kidneys...

but he gets to stand up and drink water on his breaks. Can't he pee then?

He used to be a (Styx reference) Grand Illusionist. But once he started in on these "endurance" feats (which aren't - I mean, breaks?) he's gone downhill fast and I have absolutely no interest in him.

blake said...

(2) Does anyone else remember this silly 1980s health fad? Link. I think it was featured prominently in a montage scene in “American Gigolo” when Richard Gere was preparing for a night on the town.

Gravity boots! They pitch a less extreme version--an easy to get on and off inverting table--during the breaks on "Red Eye".

blake said...

When I read about this stunt--I think on this very blog--what I thought was, "David Blaine is Tom Green".

Remember Tom Green? I think he was married to Drew Barrymore for a while. Had a TV show and some movies. He wasn't a comedian, or a performer in any traditional sense of the word.

What he gave off was a complete desperation to be noticed. Maybe that was his act (as opposed to his personal psychological state) but it usually fell far short of entertaining.

Being funny is hard. Doing magic is hard, too. Both require cleverness and proficiency to engage the (perhaps jaded) audience, so you need to be both very good and have a twist. (Penn & Teller's anti-magic magic stuff, for example, where they show you how a trick is done while doing another trick on the sly.)

I don't think Green was funny enough or skilled enough to compete in the cut-throat world of comedy.

Now, I've been impressed by some of David Blaine's street magic--but then I learned he seriously cheats by editing out his fails. (Editing is a serious no-no in the world of illusionists.)

I think that's why Blaine has gone more toward stunts (which don't seem to be much in the way of stunts at all, when you look at how they're done) than magic.

The difference between him and Green and I guess the "Jackass" guys is that we're supposed to worry about Blaine because he might be injured in his stunts, whereas with the former, we're supposed to laugh.