With a deck of cards and authoritative cool, David Blaine brings the wonderment of magic off the stage and onto the sidewalk.

Why you should listen

Called a "modern-day Houdini" by The New York Times, David Blaine made himself a household name with TV special David Blaine: Street Magic -- shedding the sweeping glitz and drama of other TV magic programs in favor of a simple premise: illusions done right on the street, in front of handheld cameras and speechless passersby.

With Buried Alive, Blaine was entombed underground for seven days in a transparent plastic coffin, visible to gawking pedestrians above, setting off a new trend in his performance career: the endurance stunt. The pursuit led to other spectacles featuring cramped spaces and extreme conditions: Frozen in Time, which saw him encased in a block of ice for almost three days, and Vertigo, where he stood atop a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours.

Blaine's stunts continue to draw immense crowds and Nielsen ratings to match, but his appearance on Oprah was perhaps most stunning, when he broke the Guinness world record for breath-holding, staying underwater for 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds.

What others say

“His deceptively low-key, ultracool manner leaves spectators more amazed than if he'd razzle-dazzled.” — Time Magazine

David Blaine’s TED talk

David Blaine on the TED Blog

Entertainment

David Blaine shares the last magic trick that boggled his mind

November 19, 2013

David Blaine, the magician, illusionist and endurance artist, is back on prime time TV tonight with the special, David Blaine: Real or Magic. Traveling around the world, the TED speaker (watch his talk, “How I held my breath for 17 minutes“) performs magic and elicits astonished reactions from people on the street — as well as from […]

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Quotes from David Blaine

As a magician, I think everything is possible. And I think if something is done by one person it can be done by others.
David Blaine
TEDMED 2009 • 8.6M views Jan 2010
Jaw-dropping, Courageous