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Sleight of Hand, Slight of Mind

With David Blaine getting crapped on for seeming to abandon magic entirely in his quest to be a traveling boy in a plastic bubble — I see movie remake! — I tuned in to CBS’s Keith Barry: Extraordinary to see if the boyish illusionist from Ireland intended to actually entertain. The thrust of the show was mind control, mind melding and mind reading — with celebrities. So whose thoughts did he read? Jessica Simpson’s. Yeah, I know. Barry even had to take over an innocuous aspect of her “participation” — dropping a piece of glass into a bottle she was holding — because she appeared incapable of that tiny amount of focus. And he made Mark Steines of Entertainment Tonight forget what he’d done mere moments before. How shocking. This, in a town whose memory-erasing ability is well-established, since Bruce Willis continues to star in movies even though he hasn’t had a hit in ages. I guess I’m not surprised that these magic specials now have to feature celebrities getting their minds blown to somehow make sleight of hand palatable to viewers. Or maybe that’s the point. Celebrities are the ultimate plausible diversion. If you’re busy trying to assess whether Vivica A. Fox has had work done, you won’t notice what Barry is doing with the deck of cards.


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