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THURSDAY

At the sight of David Blaine’s bloody, beating heart—which the hunky illusionist had just ripped out of his own scrawny chest—Carson Daly lost all control of his sterling interviewing skills: “Dude. Dude? Dude!” In fact, Daly, not exactly the steeliest of newsmen, had just about bolted from the set of his late-night Last Call talk show by the time Blaine, his white shirt awash in red, his squishy ticker gripped in his hand, flopped from his chair and lay motionless on the floor. Yeah, Daly acted like a bit of a wuss that night, but I don’t blame him: Blaine once freaked me out, too. As a street magician, he’s pulled off some pretty cool shit, mind-blowing variations of the pick-a-card-any-card variety. But my awe was eventually dulled when the soft-spoken Blaine starting pulling such self-indulgent stunts as being buried alive for seven days in a transparent coffin near New York City’s West Side Highway. And being trapped for nearly 82 hours in a block of ice in Times Square. And hanging around with Leonard DiCaprio. Blaine likes to call himself a “mystifier,” and—probably for this reason alone—cynical sorcerers Penn & Teller like to call bullshit on just about every pretentious stunt he pulls. And Blaine’s new book, Mysterious Stranger, probably won’t win him any new fans in the sleight-of-hand industry. When he’s not comparing himself to such death-defying legends as Harry Houdini, he’s patting himself on his tattooed back for bringing the masses together. While performing his latest ratings feat—standing on an 80-foot-plus column in Bryant Park for 35 hours—Blaine noticed: “People of every race, religion, and ethnicity were sitting on the grass, standing around with cameras, debating one another, cheering, sewing, sketching, eating lunch, flirting.” Here’s hoping Blaine’s next trick is putting his bleeding heart back in his chest and getting back to pulling aces from a wine bottle. See if it happens when he discusses Stranger at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (Sean Daly)