Archive for the ‘Criss Angel’ Category

FOUR POINTS: Criss Angel’s return to TV is good for your magic

Monday, October 14th, 2013

We hear the feedback, we read the comments, and we get it: You don’t like Criss Angel. From mild annoyance with his reliance on TV tricks to outright disgust about how he treats other magicians (such as Dynamo, Jan Roven and Joe Monti), Angel doesn’t count many magicians among his Loyals (the name for his die-hard fans).

His new show, “Believe,” is an extension of the Las Vegas show he’s built over the last three years. Following a similar format as “Mindfreak,” the show highlights 11 illusions, from a straitjacket escape to that falling sword illusion — you know, the one that looks like it was stolen from Jan Rouven and failed pretty badly during the live execution.

But the reactions we hear from you about Criss: Wow. His show hasn’t even aired yet, and already we’re hearing about it. Magicians are complaining about how a performer that relies on camera editing, stooges and special effects is dominating the magic landscape.

Most magicians see failure. We see opportunity.

Us? We are THRILLED to see him back on cable TV. From the look of his teasers, he’ll be basing each show around a signature illusion. And the first segment appears to be a collection of close-up magic. If it’s more Mindfreak, then what may be bad for Criss Angel is good for the rest of us. Here’s four reasons why.


Inside Mindfreak’s mansion: Criss’ crib on MTV

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Via the Mindfreak’s Facebook page: If you’ve ever wanted to see the inside of his home, this is your chance. In addition to appearing during the American Country Awards (tonight) and at the Luxor for his birthday, Criss Angel will be featured on MTV’s “Cribs.” Look for the episode at 8 p.m. Saturday (U.S. Eastern).

Maybe we’re cynical, but we can’t wait to read what iTricks readers have to say about the inside of his home. We’re off to grab some popcorn.

Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit-selling sellouts? Not quite

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

We’re going to pre-emptively snuff a spark before an issue becomes a fire — now that David Blaine is involved, this issue is likely to get debates going on magic forums worldwide.

Surely, you’ve seen the Mindfreak magic kits. Available from the ads on TV and from nationwide retailers, the kits feature a slew of street magic effects for beginners, intermediates and the “most advanced mystifier,” including several we are all familiar with. You can get “platinum” and “ultimate” kits — some include one of Angel’s levitations, and the kits also come with instructional DVDs.

Also causing some controversy is this kit featuring Ed Alonzo. Some, including’s respected resident magician Wayne Kawamoto, have argued that the kit’s head twister is so poorly made that it is tantamount to exposure. Roland Henning, the chief of Weekly Magic Failure, goes a step further and calls Alonzo a sell out. (Yeah, Roland gets angry when we don’t send him free cards, but we still like him and his site.)

Now David Blaine is getting involved. in September spread the news that the street magic legend is releasing three new gaff decks. The decks are Blaine’s take on a stripper, Svengali and marked deck, but the key words in the story: “They are U.S. Playing Card Co. products that are being released to the general public.” Blaine has a publicity tour planned to talk about the decks, and they should be available sometime after Oct. 31 wherever Bicycle cards are sold.

So is the world falling apart for magicians? Does the appearance of magic’s biggest current stars on products meant for the masses mean we will have no secrets left? Are Blaine, Angel and Alonzo SELL-OUTS?

Chill. Take a deep breath, practice your pass. Take these two bullet points, and call us in the morning:

  • All these kits appear to be filled with gimmicked magic tricks that have been in mass markets for ages. Take that Mindfreak kit: From the sales page, it looks like he’s put his presentational feel on effects that my stepkid already has. The serious secrets of sleight of hand appear to remain intact.
  • But even if one of those 500 Mindfreaks happens to be a solid technique for a pass, remember: People like to watch US, not magic tricks. Even though these gimmicked decks have been available in mass markets, we know pros who still kill with them because they put the work, effort and practice into a truly convincing performance. The same goes for sleight of hand.

This won’t be the last time a magician makes it big enough to use his image to market magic products. Magic has been just fine ever since. So get out there and perform already. That’s what people want to see.

Magicians spread out, take over other venues

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

One is in a casino commercial. Another is in a cab. Another is making cupcakes. Another is investigating a friend’s death after a fight with a rock musician. I don’t remember a weekend where magicians got so much coverage for non-magical things. Only way to break something like this down is with bullets:

  • We knew Rich Ferguson was good with poker chips and cards. But he’s also good as a commercial actor. He appeared in a casino commercial standing in a wine cellar and, like the Old Spice guy, on a horse. They used his hands for some commercials to air in the future; we can’t wait to see them.
  • Lance Burton will be a competitor on Cash Cab sometime next week on Discovery Channel. Dodd Vickers at the Magic Newswire reports that he is also to appear on a new show called “Restorations.”
  • Justin Kredible, the magician who can be made to dance with a simple command from Ellusionist’s Shawn Mullins, is hosting Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Justin Robert Young at iTricks found the promo.
  • Scottish magician Jerry Sadowitz is getting involved in a mother’s campaign to find out what happened to her son after a fight with Pete Doherty. Specifically, he will auction the secret of one of his famous card tricks to help the mother fund an investigation. This Daily Record report has the details.

At least Criss Angel is sticking to magic. The new season of “Mindfreak” starts Wednesday.

EMC registrants to receive free E download

Friday, July 9th, 2010

It’ll really be here next week, won’t it?

The Essential Magic Conference will be held from July 15-17. You already know you have to be there: 33 speakers for $75? You kiddin’ me? On top of that, Ellusionist is sending a free download to EMC registrants. When you register before the deadline, you’ll get instructions on how to download your free video.

Here’s the latest two videos from EMC, featuring two incredible magicians:

Cyril Takayama:

Paul Draper: