On Friday morning, magician David Blaine began a 72-hour marathon in Times Square to collect funds for earthquake victims in Haiti and to raise awareness. OK! spoke with Blaine who shared his experience in Haiti and the importance of the cause.
(Editors Note) In 1999, David shot a TV special in Haiti and spent nearly two weeks there traveling the country, sharing magic with the people and entertaining children. After hearing about the recent tragic earthquake in Haiti, Blaine decided to help raise money through the same magic he captivated the Haitian people with.
By David Blaine as told to OK!’s Laura Lane:
I was supposed to stay a week and we ended up staying almost two weeks in Haiti. They’re a culture that’s deeply rooted in magic and I wanted to see some of the ceremonies and how they would react to my magic. They were believers or they would find it extremely entertaining or hard to understand. Their reactions were incredible. When I left, I would check in and make sure that everything was good with the people that I knew who were on the show, like this little boy.
It was incredible because the people, as you know, have so little. They’re the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but yet anybody that I met anywhere on the side of the road I would do magic to them and nobody knew me at the time, and they were all so gracious and so willing to help get me to where I needed to go, bring me to interesting places. I went in to many of the houses and when you go into a house in Haiti, very often you’ll see the bedroom, which has no bed in it. There’s just sheets on the floor and you’ll see 15 people sleeping in one room, a very small room. Shelter was already very limited. You would see adults walking around with one shoe on. You’d see kids with no shoes. While I was there, just the kids that I met, the people that I met, their respect for their elders, their sincerity, their love for each other, their smiles and reactions to the magic I never forget it. It never left me.
Then this happened and literally I was unable to sleep. I was searching Google News all night and it was driving me out of my mind. My producer, Denise Albert, said, why don’t you just do magic in the middle of Times Square and get people to donate? Within an hour she called the city and they were very nice. The mayor’s office gave us a permit for this area (43 Street and Broadway NYC), which I’ve wanted before and they wouldn’t permit, but for this cause they were all very helpful. Then the Red Cross came on board and set up a link to the front page of my website so anybody clicks on www.DavidBlaine.com can donate very easily.
I’ll be here three days and three nights the whole time, non-stop, doing magic to anybody that wants. I’m doing all sorts of stuff, making people’s money disappear, literally, into a bucket for Red Cross, doing magic with cards, coins, everything close up, all the stuff that I like to do that I’ve done on all my shows. We’re just trying to raise as much money as possible. Every little bit counts and all of the money is going to relief for immediate needs for food and shelter.
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