David Blaine: Electrified: One Million Questions Always What?

[Originally posted on October 8th, 2012.]

As of right now, Monday, October 8, 2012, 5:30PM EST David Blaine has been standing in a chain-mail suit on New York’s Pier 54 with 1 million volts of electricity flowing from one Tesla coil to another across his body for 69 hours. He has 3 hours left. It’s the most recent in a series of endurance stunts (being in ice for a while, being on a column for a while, being in a box for a while, being in dirt for a while, being half-asleep ALWAYS) Blaine has performed in public over the past few years for what seems like 0 reason, and it is the stunt he claims to be the “most dangerous” yet. (It’s also a stunt that this scientist claims to be “shockingly safe” and one that Intel’s Ultrabook claims to be “shockingly ULTRABOOK ULTRABOOK PLEASE BUY ULTRABOOK,” but who are you going to believe?) I visited Blaine on Sunday, October 7 and, if you asked me, I’d say that it was one of the shockingly dumber and more confusing things I’ve ever seen in my life. #ELECTRIFIED!

I arrived at Pier 54 around 3:30PM. Andrew WK was slated to perform there that night at 7:30PM and I did not go to that on purpose so I could witness David Blaine in his natural Electrified environment: surrounded by not very many people who are all standing in the rain, confused, taking photos.

#ELECTRIFIED! This entire stunt is very confusing, but probably the most confusing part of it is the incredibly loud out-of-practice robot orchestra music that drones on through its entirety. You can hear it in the live stream, and you can also hear it if you are anywhere within two blocks of Pier 54. IT IS VERY, VERY LOUD! So loud that they give you earplugs when you walk in, and so loud that you eventually use them even though at the beginning you think, “This probably isn’t totally necessary.”

They have flames on them because, I assume, an electricity image wasn’t available. But back to the music: I still don’t understand what it is or who is controlling it. The point of it is that, from what I can understand, the different notes correspond to different…amounts…of electricity? That might be wrong. I don’t know! I’ve tried to find out and THE TRUTH JUST ISN’T OUT THERE. I know Andrew WK controlled it while he was there, and I know Reggie Watts is going to control it at the end of the day today (Blaine’s final Eletrified day), but who is controlling it otherwise? Intel says this:

Intel’s sponsorship includes supplying Ultrabooks to the site so visitors can interact with Blaine. They can send messages, change the music and ask him questions. Blaine said this will help alleviate the most difficult aspect of the trick, staying focused.

But when I was there it was raining (as it has been the entire weekend) so those blocks of computers looked like this:

And no one was using them because you couldn’t because they were covered in fucking garbage bags. (Also, from what I could tell, they were all just playing pre-Electrified interviews with David Blaine?) So I don’t know! Maybe they just had different loud robot versions of classical songs that you could choose from, or something? Before getting there I was under the impression that the notes were all audience-controlled, because I knew that the closest platform contained this one Ultrabook that allowed you to press keys, each of which corresponded to a different amount of electricity. (OR SOMETHING?) So I got up to the front of the platform (basically right away because no one was really fighting for it) and checked out what the deal was with that, and the deal was, as far as I could tell, that it was nothing? It felt like being in Johnny Rockets when the old-timey waitress comes around and gives you a nickel to put in your booth’s jukebox and you choose a song but never hear it, and go home assuming that it’s because Johnny Rockets only plays an old-timey mix CD and the in-booth jukeboxes aren’t even connected to anything, even though Johnny Rockets will tell you that you didn’t hear it because there’s just a big backlog of songs queued up.

I waited until there was a break in the music (there were breaks in between musical pieces, and each time there was a break people would clap, which was very, very funny, because what were they clapping for?) to press a few keys and I did and nothing happened, so I don’t know. I was already standing in the rain, watching a man stand in a protective suit for what seemed like no reason, listening to the loudest, worst music I’ve ever heard, so I wasn’t going to investigate what was actually going on with the nonsense computer thing. Another thing I didn’t understand about it was that the entire time I was there, there was a man in a little booth raised up next to Blaine, interviewing him:

At first he was up there with a cameraman, but then they lowered the box down and the cameraman got out and the guy with the microphone went back up by himself. …? What a mystery! Was this to ask the Intel questions that the fans were asking? If so, where are we supposed to find the answers? Are they going to be released after the whole stunt is over? If so, who is going to care at that point? Or is this just a television interview? If so, why didn’t the cameraman go up the second time? Or is this just a guy who is there to hang out with David Blaine for no reason other than to keep him entertained? Also: How are they recording David Blaine’s audio? Does he have a microphone on? I guess he must! It’s too bad that it was so unbelievably loud, because I’m sure if the crowd had been able to chat with each other some of these questions would’ve been brought up and possibly resolved. But, unfortunately, no one could talk to anyone because we all had earplugs in because we were all in a loud, discordant nightmare together. Haha, maybe that’s why the loud element was included in the stunt? “IF IT’S LOUD THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS.” If so, it worked!

So basically the stunt that Electrified: One Million Volts Always On revolves around is David Blaine leaning (NOT standing — he was leaning on a thing that he was tethered to!!) against something for three days, not eating, while listening to loud, horrible music. (Courtney Love something something that stunt every something something!) The chain-mail suit and helmet protect him from the electricity, so it might as well not even be there. In the interview where he claims it is the “most dangerous” stunt he has ever been to he says the reason why it is the most dangerous is because he doesn’t even know what the damage is going to be after the stunt ends, but it seems like the damage is just going to be that he is tired and hungry and annoyed? Though, as this fan notes in the comments under the live stream:

IT IS A LONG TIM TO JUST STAND (LEAN) THERE! Also, as I learned, 20 minutes is a long tim to just stand there watching him just stand there. BOO! Boo this stunt. David Blaine stunts are always upsetting because, even though the endurance factor is always insane and an impressive human feat, the purpose factor is never really there and also David Blaine’s annoying, self-satisfied, publicity-hound factor is always way up, but at least with the stunts in the past you UNDERSTOOD WHAT WAS HAPPENING. “He’s in ice, I get it, for sure.” “Oh he’s standing on a column forever.” This one, I just do not know. He’s definitely not eating for three days, I can say that for sure. Electricity is certainly AROUND him. He’s located at Pier 54 and it is very loud there. (The only other fact I got out of it is that I have to buy an Ultrabook because oh my god you guys they seem AMAAZIIIIIIIIIIINNNGGGGGG!!!) Though, with all of that said, I am glad I went and was able to see it. Just kidding. It was a waste of time! #ELECTRIFIED!

[Originally posted on October 8th, 2012.]