ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: USA: MAGICIAN

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(8 Apr 1999) English/Nat
New York, April 7th’99

BLAINE IS HIP TO THE FEEL OF NEW YORK’S UNDERGROUND

Brooklyn born and bred DAVID BLAINE, known for levitating off the ground and for once dating American singer, FIONA APPLE, is doing well in his bid to stay buried alive in a clear plastic coffin without food and just enough water to survive for seven days.

At 10 am Monday morning (5/4/99) on the site of DONALD TRUMP’s new building on the Upper West side, David was lowered 6 feet (two metres) into a gravesite and his coffin was covered with clear plexiglass and topped off with a 4000 gallon water tank so that passers-by could view him at any hour of the day for the next seven days. Donald, who is not known for missing the chance for any publicity, was on hand for the event.

The New York magician, has now passed the magic mark in his bid to remain buried alive for 48-hours .

His first night was chillier than expected and handlers had to quickly pump some warmth into his specially-made coffin.

But, once warmed up, Blaine appeared much more comfortable, and happily communicated with the continuing stream of fascinated onlookers by using various hand gestures.

As the line of curious spectators including lots of journalists, grew longer, many expressed skepticism at Blaine’s feat, suspecting it was just more of the same trickery he employs in his magic shows.

Television personalities took the opportunity to test the authenticity of the stunt, holding up some written questions for Blaine to respond, even tempting him with a hot dog, which he waved off in amusement.

A passing clown, billing himself as a prominent children’s magician, offered to top Blaine’s achievement by spending time locked in a room full of children being fed a steady supply of sweets.

Blaine, who is well known for his magic tricks employing levitation and sleight of hand, intends to remain buried without food, and less than a gallon of water for seven days ending on April 12th.

Blaine’s latest attempt to fascinate is not his first. In 1997, ABC aired his first special, “Street Magic” and his new show “Magic Man” will air on the network April 14th. In both shows, Blaine uses the same technique, a type of in-your face magic show as he approaches ordinary people on the street to perform various magic tricks. In his new show, he will also travel to the Amazon to spend time with a native tribe and will work with Israeli-born mentalist Uri Geller to create some psychic effects.

As with any young success, Blaine’s has been received with a bit of criticism. After high school, he briefly studied acting and began performing magic in the street. He also ran around with a posse of the highest celebrity — Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Today, however, he wishes to disassociate himself with Leo and concentrate on his upcoming challenges like the burial and the show. He has, however, accepted the attention of Robert DeNiro — who has optioned his life story for his film company — Tribeca Films.

David will rouse himself every day at noon, when the sun is directly overhead, so that he may wave to friends and family. A crane will be on hand around clock, ready to lift the plexiglass water tank should anything go wrong.

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