One is tempted, while writing about illusionist David Blaine's upcoming attempt to spend three days embedded in a six-ton ice block (he'll enter shirtless on Nov. 27 and be set free with chain saws on the 29th during a live ABC special), to say he puts the ''brrr'' in ''Abrrracadabrrra.'' But wordplay like that may make Blaine, 27, pull an aneurysm out of his hat, since he insists the stunt is not magic, but an ''endurance experience.'' To pull off the frosty twist to his 1999 feat of being buried alive in a Plexiglas sarcophagus, Blaine has spent nearly a year practicing soaking in tanks of ice water. And on Oct. 26, he did a dry run inside a glacial gulag that ''went poorly,'' he admits, due to his body temperature dropping too fast; he now realizes that he'll ''need to put a gel on, like when people swim the English Channel, and special boots that pump the blood [in my legs] so they don't clot.'' (And to think all Siegfried has to do is make a damn tiger disappear.) Here's a look at the Blaine-cicle's polar prep work.
Blaine's icy baths often give his skin a sunburn-like redness, but he doesn't mind the physical trials. ''I do these stunts like somebody might run a marathon,'' he says. ''For that euphoria they feel at the end.''
The ice block for the special, which is melodramatically titled David Blaine: Frozen in Time, will be set up at Good Morning America's Times Square studio and fans will be able to walk up and touch the display.
Over the three days Blaine (seen here with his penguin pal) will take naps standing up, but with only two inches clearance around his body, he has to be careful because, ''If I fall asleep and my face presses into the ice, they'll have to cut my face off.'' Thus, if his handlers catch him falling into a body-slumping slumber, they'll wake him up by tugging on the catheter he'll be using to relieve himself. Says Blaine, ''If I'm in trouble, it's YAAAAAAH!''
Once in the ice, if Blaine's body temp dips below 90[degrees], there are orders to thaw him out, although according to Nancy Stern, exec producer of the special, ''his mind is set that he'll have to be taken out dead.''