Magicians perform the seemingly impossible by manipulating the experience of their audience.
No, I really don't want to see a card trick
While most people think of magicians as awkward dorks that spend hours in isolation playing with sponge balls, cards and string, magicians actually take themselves pretty seriously.
They adhere to a strict ethics code and join professional organizations like the International Magician's Society (I.M.S). The I.M.S. is also an academic institution where you can take courses and study for your D.M. or "Doctor of Magic" degree. And just like medical doctors, Doctors of Magic take an oath to uphold the ideals of their vocation. Except of course, instead of saving lives, they vow not to give away the secrets of the "Linking Finger Rings."
Street magic is a term used to describe a gritty, guerilla style performance in a public space for an unsuspecting, unpaying audience. The upside for the magician is the inherent gullibility of an audience willing to stop and talk to a complete stranger on the street. The downside, street magicians are basically a step above panhandler and a step below sign twirler.
Intonation-ally challenged David Blaine started out as a street magician. He has since moved on to a more sophisticated style, and by sophisticated we mean mediocre stunts that are both overproduced and boring to watch.
David Blaine amazes a reporter that this passes as magic
According to fellow magician, Penn Gillette, Blaine is an "incredibly bad" magician who uses stunts that Siegfried and Roy "stopped doing in 5th grade." - Ouch! Gillette goes on to say, "Blaine is only popular because he's better looking than 99 percent of most magicians."
admittedlly the bar is set pretty low
Whether it's for two bums in an alley or half a disinterested city below you, when you perform live, there is always a chance something can go wrong.
Working with variables such as props, other human beings and your own ego can lead to stage disasters
Physically assaulting your audience isn't the only option. Magician Criss Angel ended a performance of his Las Vegas act "Believe" by hurling obscene insults into the audience. What had gotten Angel all in a twist? Celebrity busybody Perez Hilton was in attendance, and reportedly tweeted during the show that it was "unbelievably BAD" and that he'd "rather be getting a root canal."
An incensed Angel took the stage and singled out Hilton calling him a "douche bag" and an "asshole". While the the insults were aimed at Hilton, the entire audience was treated to the diatribe.
People actually pay to watch this. Evidently, lots of people. Magician David Copperfield is one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world. How wealthy? In 2006 he shelled out $50 million to purchase his own chain of tropical islands.
Top Shelf Entertainment
Copperfield also owns the International Museum of the Conjuring Arts, which houses the world's largest collection of magic memorabilia. The museum is not open to the public. Tours are reserved for "colleagues, fellow magicians, and serious collectors". Located at Copperfield's headquarters Las Vegas, the museum is entered via a secret door behind a frontage that's been described by Hugh Jackman as a "sex shop" and by Forbes as a "mail-order lingerie warehouse".
The museum's approximately 80,000 items include Houdini's Water Torture Cabinet and his Metamorphosis Trunk, Orson Welles' Buzz Saw Illusion and we imagine 70,000 paper flower boquets.