guess the face contest:

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"i know"

i want to be david blaine

Last night at 9 after Todd cancelled on our writing date, I was watching TV. I found myself glued for the next hour. I wasn’t watching Dharma & Greg, or Two Unfunny Guys Trying Way Too Hard and a Pizza Place. No, this was much better. This was much deeper. I was watching David Blaine - Street Magic.

David Blaine is not your ordinary magician. David Blaine wears t-shirts and jeans. David Blaine was in a glass box under the NYC streets for a week. David Blaine dated Fiona Apple and Madonna. David Blaine is muscular and not nearly as faggy-looking as most magicians. David Blaine uses cards and coins and cigarettes. David Blaine is a street magician.

I saw this same show a year ago but I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time. What David Blaine has done is to craft a show so seriously silly that you almost forget the fact that you’re watching an hour-long infomercial. It is as if a fifth grade David Blaine had to write a thesis paper titled, Why David Blaine Is The Hippest And Least Magician-Like Magician In The World:

He states his thesis. Proves his thesis. Restates his thesis. Offers more proof. Restates his thesis. Offers yet more proof. And then tells you why his thesis is proven.


But here’s the real genius part – how do you restate your thesis that you’re the coolest magician in the world without looking like a total tool? You get Leo to call you the coolest magician in the world. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio appears all over this special, looking slightly embarrassed and unfocused as he hypes the phenom that is David Blaine.

Here is David Blaine’s M.O.: David Blaine walks up to people and asks he if can show them something. He then proceeds to do a pretty cool card trick, and then stares at the person silently/blankly for like a minute, creeping them out even more. I don’t know if David Blaine is constantly high or what, but he talks in this real drugged out way, and that stare – it’s like the stare of my old retarded bowling nemesis Alex after he’s just bowled three strikes in a row to beat me. Blank, confrontational, a bit confused.

So for the entire hour, David Blaine, wearing the exact same clothes every day apparently, does his tricks around the country. (But always on the streets, see.) As David Blaine arrives in Vegas, they show David Blaine walking towards the entrance to the strip on the side of the road. Then they show him walking to Texas. As if he’s some wandering magic minstrel with a message. Like some Forrest Gump of card tricks, crossing the states on foot with a pack of cards and a point. He does his tricks, people scream, and he moves on. David Blaine goes to the Haight, and puts an aged, acid-riddled hippie’s cigarette through a quarter. Spiraled the dude onto his worst trip since 1982.

David Blaine walks to Arizona and accosts a sad-faced fat trailer-dwelling kid, asking him if he has a quarter. "No," says poor-boy. David Blaine then makes his own quarter disappear from fatty’s hand. And as the vaguest flicker of recognition makes its way onto his doughy face, he says, in the meekest monotone, "cool." David Blaine then makes two pregnant black girls in New York scream. "That man ain’t right!" David Blaine gives three recalcitrant New Jersey yentas a thrill. David Blaine makes Emmett Smith and Deion Sanders shriek in surprise. David Blaine walks to Compton, where he does a trick for a group of brothers who would be so kicking his ass if it wasn’t for the camera. The big guy he does the trick for keeps saying that he has no money, and David Blaine has to continually repeat that this doesn’t cost anything. David Blaine then makes two red queens turn black, causing one of the guys to step to the fat guy and yell, "He clowned you, you fat motherfucker!!!". David Blaine does the same trick on a fey black guy in Washington Square Park, NYC. The guy wears an ascot and talks out of one side of his mouth and sounds just like Carl from Caddyshack.

"That is truly incredible. I don’t know who this guy is, I just came from the welfare office. I don’t know who he is, if he’s rich or poor, I don’t care. That is truly outstanding."

All this is intercut with scenes between Leo and David Blaine, where Leo tells David Blaine, "You are doing magic how it’s supposed to be done. You are taking it to the streets." The best Leo/David Blaine – Street Magician scene starts with a shot of a rickety underground metal stairwell, on which Leo and David Blaine magically appear. They then talk about magic in hushed and very important tones, neither looking at the other, like some CK1 ad written by David Mamet.

Oh yeah, and David Blaine levitates. After he levitates he asks for a glass of water because the levitating really takes a lot out of him. Problem is: David Blaine is a great magician, but David Blaine is a horrible actor.

And after all this: I want to be David Blaine.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

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I have to say, I like the pale girl at the end of the Dress You Up Gap ad. The way she blinks...I read today that the cast for the Pulitzer prize-winning play Wit is changing. The new cast: Judith Light and Grant Show...Red Wolf is not a bad little cheap beer...

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