David Blaine
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David Blaine

Program Date April 16, 2011

“PUSHING THE LIMITS OF HUMAN ENDURANCE”

Called a “latter day Houdini,” David Blaine has not only redefined magic but also set new boundaries for human endurance. He holds several world records, including one for holding his breath underwater for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. Blaine will give The Richmond Forum audience a rare look behind the physical feats that have expanded our understanding of what the human body can do; from the sources of the ideas, to his research and physical preparation, to the feats themselves...all undertaken for the purpose of making us believe the unbelievable.

BACKGROUND

David Blaine has redefined magic around the world with his unique brand of intimate, close-up magic and his challenges that have set new boundaries of human endurance. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Blaine discovered his passion for magic at the age of five. He began performing professionally for private parties when he turned thirteen. At nineteen, he did his first television appearance and then immediately after, he began doing private parties in St. Tropez and traveling around the world with his magic.

By the age of 23, Blaine had created, directed and produced an original television program titled Street Magic, which revolutionized the way magic is portrayed on television and garnered rave reviews by critics.

In April 1999, Blaine was buried alive on Manhattan’s West Side in New York for seven days and seven nights. Donald Trump provided the land and this became a highly publicized spectacle in New York. When Blaine was released, he was quoted as saying, “What I saw was every race of people, every age group, and every religion all gathered together smiling; and that made all of this worth it.” From that point on, his name became synonymous with modern magic.

In November 2000, in the middle of Times Square, Blaine was encased in a six-ton block of ice for three days and nights. Hundreds of thousands of people came to witness Blaine frozen. Emerging on a live primetime special, Frozen in Time, Blaine was immediately rushed to the hospital, suffering from sleep deprivation and hypothermia.

In May of 2002, Blaine stood atop a 100-foot pillar in the middle of New York’s Bryant Park without a safety net for 36 hours, high above hundreds of thousands of fans who squeezed into the park.

In 2003, Blaine survived on pure water alone for 44 days and 44 nights in a Plexiglas box dangling over the Thames River in London. The controversy that built from September 5th to his October 19th release--60 pounds lighter--was nothing that the city of London had ever experienced and captured the imagination of the entire world. Even President George W. Bush referred to Blaine in the opening remarks of a speech in London. Although there were many skeptics, the New England Journal of Medicine documented the entire event and published a paper that has since been used to study the human organism’s ability to survive with nothing.

In May 2006, Blaine was submerged in a glass sphere in New York’s Lincoln Center for seven days and seven nights. More than half a million people visited Blaine to lend their support. On May 8, millions tuned in to David Blaine: Drowned Alive and witnessed him hold his breath for 7 minutes 30 seconds, just short of the world record.

On April 30, 2008, Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds to set the new world record. The New York Times Science Times did a cover story about this remarkable achievement.

Programs, dates, and times are subject to change.

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