Posts Tagged ‘Criss Angel’

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.


Power of close-up magic proven: Reporter blown away by magician

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Dynamo and Tony Strange are the latest magicians to prove us right: Magic on TV only STRENGTHENS the performances we give people face-to-face.

We hear some magicians complain and commiserate that TV shows such as the ones Dynamo, David Blaine and Criss Angel weaken their own magic, spoiling tricks and ruining endings. But people usually chalk up magic tricks on TV to TV trickery — camera edits, loaded audiences and the like. That sets them up perfectly for what you do.

When people see real close-up, they find out how real magic can be.

One such person is Suzie Pike, a reporter for the Granthan (England) Journal. When Strange called up and said he could do the same kinds of things Dynamo does on “Magician Impossible,” she said she didn’t quite believe it:

“Being a little skeptical about camera angles and the likes on TV shows I was looking forward to seeing if I could be fooled face-to-face. Let’s just say he managed it with every single trick.”

Strange performed a brilliant six-minute set for Pike and videographer Toby Roberts. He did some classic tricks that most of you should be familiar with, including an invisible deck routine and some rubber band tricks. Just watch the reactions he gets from Pike:

Why should you care?

That performance got great press coverage for Strange, who is available for weddings, parties and other events. Not only did he get featured in the video, he got a story about him in the paper — a brilliant two-fer. He also is seeking to set up a magician’s club around his area, and was able to get that message into his story. Using a link to a popular TV show, Strange was able to make a local contact and hook a reporter’s interest.

(A pro tip about media coverage: More newspapers are seeking to add extra digital content to their websites, such as videos. Unlike TV reporters, who want to be featured on camera, newspaper folks are more inclined to put all the focus on you, such as the video above. Use that to your advantage when trying to drum up some media coverage.)

Dynamo also owes a bit of a thank-you to Strange: When Pike watchese the next episode of “Magician Impossible,” how do you think she’ll feel about “TV magic” now that she’s seen the real thing?

New book: In Thurston vs. Houdini rivarly, Thurston was the winner

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

One of the debates we always hear people ask about is about who’s better: David Blaine or Criss Angel? Even though the two magicians haven’t locked themselves into any public rivalry, fans easily join one of the two sides.

Back in the vaudeville age, there was a similar battle: Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston. Where Blaine and Angel never acknowledge any sort of battle, Houdini and Thurston competed openly.

A new book argues that, even though history has mainly forgotten him, Thurston was the victor.

Legendary illusion creator Jim Steinmeyer writes at length about Thurston in his new book, “The Last Greatest Magician in the World.” The book gives a detailed look into the illusionist’s life and career, from his con-man and carnival beginnings to his storied performances. According to Kenneth Sullivan of the Wall St. Journal, Steinmeyer also does a wonderful job at describing what a magician’s life was like back in that golden age. You think magician’s have rivarlies now? Nothing like it was back then.

But the battle with Houdini takes center stage. As Sullivan wrote, it’s clear Steinmeyer thinks Houdini won. Because, as he states in this video, Houdini didn’t really seek to be a magician. Though Houdini succeeded at becoming a legend and household name, it wasn’t for his career as a performing magician. Thurston had that covered, with a fantastic illusion show that packed more and more into each repeat performance.

That thought puts an interesting twist on the Blaine vs. Angel debate, doesn’t it?

2010: A forgettable year for magic on TV? Not quite

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Judging from a breakdown by Jane Murphy on TV Squad, you might think so. She laments that David Copperfield, David Blaine and Criss Angel didn’t have TV specials this year. We agree about Copperfield, but Angel had season six of Mindfreak and Blaine had two new specials (although he didn’t film any new magic).

While Murphy didn’t catch those two things, she did catch a lot of great magic moments on the flat panel in 2010. Some things that we would add to her list if we were writing it:

  • Magicians finally got some respectful treatment on America’s Got Talent. The battle between Murray SawChuck, Michael Grasso, Dan Sperry and Antonio Restivo was classic, and how they competed against non-magical acts was even better.
  • David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and others followed Ellen DeGeneres’ lead and put more close-up magicians on their shows with special weeks. Ellen also upped her favorable treatment with her own Magic Week.
  • And let’s not forget how magicians have spread out to take on TV roles outside of simple magic shows. Lance Burton was on “Cash Cab,” Justin Kredible hosted “Cupcake Wars,” Angel was a guest star on “Rules of Engagement” and featured on “Cribs” and Blaine was featured on “Iconoclasts.”

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.