View Full Version : The Mysterious World of Alain Nu
29th April 2005, 08:03 AM
I saw this show last night on TLC, and didn't realize he was sort of a David Blaine knockoff. It was a little funny, after the Nu show, there was the episode on crop circles, then David Blaine's show. TLC's comittment to the "L" in their show is a little thin.
Can anyone shed some light on this new guy, Alain Nu? He appears to espouse "spiritual energy" and whatnot in his performances and I would like to think he's a bit more of a realist than that.
The episode I saw last night was the one with the child and man playing "poker", Nu walking down the "Exorcist" steps onto styrofoam cups with large nails under some of them, and the trick with the "spirit boards" or whatever, with the chalk between the two pieces.
It was entertaining, but like Mr. Blaine's show, really edited and re-worked.
30th April 2005, 05:10 PM
Their entire week's lineup left me with a sour taste. That's not to say I didn't watch almost all of it and even try to be entertained a bit. In fact some evenings I tried to catch both early and late episodes. I may be wrong, but it seems like a couple years ago, before they were compulsively trading spaces while you were out, TLC seemed to have a (un)healthy dose of woo. Occasionally they'll recycle one of those extremely objective documentaries on UFOs or crop circles or hauntings or whatnot. As was the case last week.
Let me just say I like David Blaine. Or at least I'm entertained by him. And I'm mostly entertained by the reactions of the people they choose to show him with. Obviously, my gripe with Blaine is how his show is edited. From a magician's standpoint, it's very smart. But it's also very deceptive, often unfairly I think.
I hadn't seen or heard of Alain Nu prior to catching him last week either. I didn't really care for his act and not merely because his format and style seemed to copy David Blaine's. I, too, would hope that Mr. Nu is more of a realist when it comes to "energy". But both of his shows were very irresponsible in their approach of that subject, especially since he seemed to be doing little more than fairly standard mentalist routines. And I think that TLC is very irresponsible because, as you said, they're stretching that "L" a little thin.
2nd May 2005, 02:18 AM
I also caught the Alain Nu show. My kids, knowing I'm a skeptic, kept asking me "how did he do that". Although I didn't know exactly, I gave them some potential guesses. I would like to hear some theories about how he did some of the tricks.
The difference between Alain and David Blaine I think is that David calls it Magic (i.e., tricks) whereas Alain would have you believe in truly Supernatural powers.
2nd May 2005, 06:43 AM
Originally posted by canadarocks
I would like to hear some theories about how he did some of the tricks.
I don't remember all of the tricks (which reinforces that I wasn't really blown away by any particular thing he did). But a few things strike me:
The effects with the graffito, the bathroom stall, and the spikes & cups obviously involved confederates. If there's ever the opportunity for someone else to be in on the gag, there probably is. It's all acting (and video editing in this case--which cheapens the whole trick, but makes it look more impressive to our home audience).
The trick with the "acid" made me laugh. All four beakers contained water. The cup into which he poured the "acid" was prepared to react with water (alka-seltzer...drain cleaner...sodium?). There's something about a big flask with a glass stopper that says "science" to people; pour out some water, tell 'em it's "acid". It's all pure acting once the big lie is out of the way. It didn't matter which of the three he drank.
Don't get me started on the spoon bending. I can't take anyone seriously once they start manipulating flatware. Some of the camera angles were not flattering to the effect--surprised the editors let those slip past.
So many of the effects used a kind of "misdirection" that is based on editing out chunks of dialogue or actions. That is cutting, say, a 5 minute trick down to around 2 minutes. What looks like an impromptu effect for a random group in reality could be the culmination of 15 minutes or more of working over the audience. But the home viewer never sees this part.
Selective editing is very deceptive and I don't think it very honest. Specific examples of this include the spirit slate trick and the poker hand trick. I feel that there was plenty we weren't seeing in both cases. In the poker trick, the baby was used for misdirection; the camera guy seemed more interested in that kid than in the actions of our fearless magician.
I was mostly entertained by 2 hours of Alain. But when he started talking about "life force" and "energy" and being "in tune" with people, I just wanted to slap him.
2nd May 2005, 07:54 AM
If I remember right, there was a lot of jabber jabber jabber about possibilties, energy, mind, potential and all that new age crap. There wasn't a whole lot about these things being simple tricks.
I am confident I know how every trick was done, save one... and knowing the secrets, I would have to say that the tricks were not all that well performed. I say that because I could perform many of them, and I am far from a good magician. My verdict: lame.
Randi performed some of these tricks, and explained others, at TAM2. Banachek also explained how to perform one of the tricks, under more "controlled" conditions, in his presentation (and you can see it on the TAM2 DVD).
9th May 2005, 10:18 AM
Thank you for your replies.
Yes, it seems we are all equally rankled by his "energies" and whatnot explanations for his tricks.
Yes, I agree completely that he obviously had help on the "nails under the cups" trick, and I am confident other explanations can be agreed upon by us all.
I, too, very much like David Blaine. I think it's great when a charismatic practicioner can come along and really generate interest in magic. I remember watching Doug Henning and later, David Copperfield and marvelling at their programs.
I guess the next step is for someone to step up and ask Mr. Nu to do away with all the "spirit energy" nonsense and actually entertain people straight up, no silly B.S. But then that would show him to be just an ordinary man...just like US! Tough one there...
Dan in Atlanta.
11th May 2005, 12:13 PM
I, too, very much like David Blaine. I think it's great when a charismatic practicioner can come along and really generate interest in magic.
Wait, did someone use charismatic and David Blaine in the same sentence? I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder -- I find him about as charismatic as a frozen trout. ;)
But that's his style, and I can't argue with (nor begrudge him) his success. Like you, I think it's great that he's generated a lot of new interest in magic.
8th October 2005, 08:58 AM
I'm new to the forum, but not new to Randi or to Alain. While I havn't seen the TLC specials yet, there are a few comments I'd like to make that perhaps could shed some light onto your questions about Alain. Having met him numerous times and actually spent time with him outside of his showmanship realm, I can assure you that whatever perceptions that the TV program gave you about him being disingenuous are unfortunate and misguided. Alain talks about energy and possibilities because it's all part of his act. He creates an atmosphere of paranormal possibilities with his audience because its fun and entertaining. His spoon bending is second to none by the way. He is of course a magician that focuses his craft on mentalism. So naturally he is going to come up with a schtik that is geared towards such effects. His talk about possibilites and the like is what creates the enjoyable atmosphere to his audience. Its not meant to decieve, or somehow convince people of the existance of paranormal activites. The major difference between Alain and someone like geller is that Alain is an entertainer and markets himself as such. Geller is a hack and milks people for money.
Alain is truly a master entertainer who builds an incredible report with his audience. He pulls them into his effects and allows them to experience an amazing show without feeling like they've been had or made fun of as so many magicians do. I think Jerry Seinfield put it perfectly when he was describing how most magicians operate "here's a quarter, now it's gone...you're a jerk".
Alain has been performing well before Blaine came onto the seen. Any resemblance between their acts I would attribute to David taking from Alain and not the other way around.
I'm a huge proponent of Randi and all that he stands for, but in this case, I am sure that Alain was trying to do anything other than provide entertainment. His talents were long over due to be appreciated.
15th January 2007, 10:01 AM
Nothing like replying to a thread that's over a year old, eh?
I, too, have seen Alain Nu perform in person. I entered to this forum to see if anyone had anything to say about him, and came across this thread. When I saw him, he prefaced the show with a statement along the lines of "nothing that you see me do tonight is due to any paranormal abilities. Everything is based on illusions, psychology and some lucky guesses."
Being a good showman, he then went on to postulate about untapped abilites of the mind and such. But the way he began his show made me very comfortable with everything that he said afterwards. And he performed a lot of purty durned amazing tricks!
15th January 2007, 12:34 PM
TLC has been learning that woo crap will bring them money just as Discovery Channel has been discovering that woo will bring them money. They have both been "educated" that crap sells.
15th January 2007, 08:33 PM
I am aware of Alain Nu. He is a magician and does not claim to have supernatural powers.
His tv show sucked but he is an excellent performer in person. At this time, every magic show on tv will resemble Blaine's show in some respect. Chriss Angel and Derren Brown both have taken from Blaine. Brown admits it, Angel doesn't.
© 2001-2009, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
vBulletin® v3.7.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.