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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Street Magician Begins Starvation Stunt

Aired September 5, 2003 - 19:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, street magician David Blaine is taking the phrase hanging around to new heights. David Blaine, your magic is real and I believe in you. He's begun his latest feat of endurance, entering a box where he'll reside for more than six weeks.
Robyn Curnow has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Blaine calls it art. Others call it just plain weird. Either way, on Friday night in London, this master showman embarked on what he says is his most dangerous stunt yet.

DAVID BLAINE, PERFORMANCE ARTIST: I love that whole idea of this man starving himself for performance, and I started to think that it would be beautiful to have a human being dangling in a small glass case over the river.

CURNOW: For the next 44 days and night, David Blaine will be suspended in this glass box by Tower Bridge with only water to drink, starving himself publicly, inspired by Franz Kafka's story of a so- called hunger artist.

Londoners, who are pretty used to artists who shock for effect, find this extreme example of performance art a bit odd. Cynics say Blaine's in it for the money. The television rights have been sold for a sum he won't reveal.

BLAINE: It's enough to pay the hospital bills basically for the next two months.

CURNOW: The big question, then -- why embark on a starvation stunt?

BLAINE: I've always been obsessed with human suffering because I think that when humans are in a suffering condition, I think that that's where people are the most honest or at least truthful.

CURNOW: It's also voyeurism at its truest form. People will be able to watch him visibly fade away.

David Blaine's counting on that, though. After all, he wants to be remembered as... BLAINE: The greatest showman of all time.

CURNOW: He's done this sort of thing before -- been frozen in a block of ice for three days, stood on a 100 foot pole for 35 hours, and now this.

(on camera): David Blaine will be hanging up there until the middle of October, 44 days of suffering for all to see, as he hovers at the extremes of art and publicity, but also becoming what organizers hope will be a major tourist attraction.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll see.

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