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taylhis
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As I stated -- voodoo and ice needed no stooge. Garbage can / butterfly needed no camera trickery. The levitation of a spectator WAS a stooge. But the others, pure. The person being set on fire for the ACTUAL performance of the burn was NOT Criss. I am not saying Criss hasn't been set on fire, this is obvious by the previous "rehearsal".

Again, to each his own. I wish Criss the best and want to see his special be a great success.
Richard Shippy
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There have been many interesting replies to this post and everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions. In all of these replies there is a great deal of information which can be useful. I don't think anyone here is bitter or jealous of Criss Angel. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Angel and he is a very talented magician. Both of the shows were entertaining and the ratings indicate people are very interested in magic. This is a good thing and any promotion of our craft is helpful to all of us. In my opinion, it is nice seeing magic on T.V.

The fire burning episode was very well done in my opinion. The show peaked at the end and suspense built throughout the episode. The look behind the scenes at the fire-burning preparation was interesting, built the drama, and let us into the inner person of Criss Angel. The reality T.V. clips of Criss Angel’s family added to the drama, built the suspense, and added to the believability. In my opinion, this 30 minute episode was very well constructed.

That being said, I was honestly very disappointed in the levitation episode. The reason for my disappointment stems from the overuse of camera trickery which lessens the believability of all subsequent effects. This feeling not only comes from the actual performance pieces but the little skits in between where Criss Angel is floating in the desert. Once I realized some camera editing was being used I tended to lessen my focus and interest tended to dwindle. The levitation show also did not peak at the end since there were too many levitations performed prior to that point. The effect was repeated over and over in different scenarios. They all looked very impressive but it was levitation overload. The movie “Jaws” was so effective because suspense kept building and we didn’t see the actual shark until near the end of the movie. I think the same logic can be applied to the construction of magical illusions. After all the proceeding levitations there was little suspense remaining for the final levitation. It was rather anti-climatic. In addition, the hypnotic trance did not seem believable which diminished the illusion that this was a random spectator. There is really nothing wrong with using stooges but it would have been better, in this instance, if it was less obvious.

I hope my critique is not interpreted as being negative. I have tried my best to offer constructive criticisms since I want Criss Angel to succeed. It is really in all of our best interest if our craft is promoted and the show is a success. I’ll be tuning into the show next week since I am very curious and love seeing magic on T.V.

Kind regards,
Rich
"They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds." ~ Winston Churchill
Doug Peters
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Quote:
On 2005-07-22 09:05, Magicbarry wrote:
Amazing how all the non-magicians I've talked to loved the show ... and yet for the bashers, all the non-magicians they've talked to hated the show.
This is an excellent observation. I think that this tells us that we tend to make friends who are somewhat like ourselves. I've always wanted to do a study of demographics and magic. There are some crowds that "get into the show" and others whose reaction is more "get lost", even when the magic is done well. All too often, the theorists tell us that the response to a show is entirely dependent on the performer. This is simply not true.
"if you have any answers, it's time to ask harder questions!"
Michael Dustman
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The Body Double for the Great Wall is one of the better theories I have heard in a while. And to think this whole time I was "deceived" by the "steps" he took in doing that effect.

I don't know if all the bashers only knew people who hated the special. Although I am amazed that Love2Laugh knows 23 people who flipped on A&E that night. Unless he was telling all his friends and coworkers to watch the show, enough people must have tuned it to check it out on their own. And if they hated it that much, it still says they watched the majority of it to make that opinion.

One thing I think that has been briefly mentioned that has been lost, is that this 20 episode deal is really a means to plug his upcoming stage show. Unlike Blaine who doesn't have a stage show, Criss is trying to get people interested in him to come see him live. And I bet quite a lot of people would go see him simply to see if he could do the things he did on tv live. Banachek has mentioned that the garbage can illusion could very much be done live on stage.

For years, David C. treated us to a yearly tv special and every year we gathered around the tv and couldn't wait. And then he would go out and do about 300 shows around the US. For 15 years, he treated us to a yearly special and then he hit the big time and started going across the world. And he went MIA on the television scene for about 6 years. Every one wanted to know when he was coming back to television. David himself said when he came back in 2001, "there was such a saturation of magic specials on tv then, I didn't need to fit it. I was out all over the world." And that is what drives a lot of this. You build a base with tv specials to come support you live. And over the last couple of specials he did, where he took some creative liberties, it was the first time he said, "come to my live shows, and you will see the same things you see on tv tonight." In the old days, it was "No camera tricks are used."

Will Criss appeal to everyone live? Probably not. But is he building a base with these specials? According to the overnight ratings...possibly. We will see how they stick around over the next few weeks.

Again, give him credit for marketing himself. People will determine whether they want to go see him live or not. Some may enjoy him in general and go catch a live show. Others may go just to see if he can do a levitation live. But the point is, he is putting butts in the seat and that is what matters.
DaveB
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I thought I would drop by this board after a long absence to check out reactions to the Mindfreak show, and I have to admit I was a little shocked.
Some of the comments and opinions expressed are fair and reasonable, but others are completely off the wall. The main problem it seems is that some expected a dedicated magic show filmed with one camera and no editing, and instead were greeted with a reality show format which is quite popular right now.

The claims of camera tricks and stooges when they were not used in the presentations mentioned, questioning if Criss can even do any magic at all, mocking his clothes, and the "I watched the show with 12 people and talked to 38 after the show and.. THEY ALL HATED IT!" Spare me please!

I know lots of people who hate "The Simpsons". Does that make it a bad show? Should they cancel it? Should they change it? Or should they just let the ratings decide? Maybe I missed the point on this one.

I don't know Criss Angel personally, but I do know he is not some no talent fool who is willing to abandon his talent and simply insert a "camera trick". He has come a long way, and regardless on whether you liked the show or not I think he at least deserves a certain amount of respect.

A quick look at Criss Angel's acomplishments:
Winner 2001 & 2004 Magician of the Year - Merlin Award. This will mark the first time a Magician has been awarded twice in the organization's history.

In 2001 he produced Criss Angel "Mindfreak", a bona fide off-Broadway hit, investing $300,000 (borrowed against his mother's house) and reaping $4 million in 14 months. He performed this show almost 600 times.

2002 when he repeated one of Houdini's death-defying stunts by staying submerged for 24 hours in a water torture cell. He completed the stunt by escaping from chains and manacles live on Good Morning America.

Appearances on the ABC Family channel, TBS in Japan, MTV, Discovery Channel and Sci Fi Channel. Awarded the "Silver Telly" - the Telly Awards' highest honor - at the 25th Annual Telly Awards for the "Criss Angel Made in Japan" DVD.

There's more, but you get the idea. Was this all accomplished with camera tricks and stooges?


If you didn't like the show, fine. Why some feel the need to completely bash a fellow magician, especially when they are not 100% sure of how something was done, simply amazes me. It is not just disrespectful, and wrong. It is truly sad.

Quote:
On 2005-07-22 14:26, JoeJoe wrote:

Magicians are always overly critical of one another, and jeolousy and egos are almost always out of control. This is why I don't attend many meetings or conventions, and surprised to see myself even participate here - I don't respond well to critisium, especially when the person giving it is wrong.

I've heard other magicians tell me similar comments about my hair and looks, that I'm 80'ish looking ... yea, so what? No layman has ever complained. I'm not trying to be a carbon copy of Copperfield and neither is Chris Angel - we are trying to be ourselves, and let others see who we are. If we cut our hair and put on suits, then we would be faking it. I've seen other magicians get sucked into this thinking by other magicians, and it always stalls their careers. I would rather see Chris Angel look the way he wants to look than to see him look the way I want him to look.

You think magicians are sopposed to be in top hats and tails?? It seems to me, that in the 1800's nearly all men wore top hats and tails - you wouldn't have been able to spot a magician in a crowd. Chris dressed for his environment, that is what a magician should look like. He didn't breka the mold of what a magician should look like, he showed the world what he thought a magician should look like - which IMHO is the mold - he dressed the way he wanted to dress.

You don't see this type of behavior in other professions, bands don't go around saying things like "yea, they are good musicians but their clothes suck ... and they really don't know what order to lay down tracks on their records ... it's a shame that music video was done in a studio and not a live performance ... they should have hired an artist for that cover instead of doodling something themselves". Like music, magic is about artistic creativity, and Chris Angel's special exceled at that. He broke molds and did things the way he felt they should be done.

I'm sure I could come up with all types of small details and points that could have been/should have been better, but what would the point be? It was his special not mine, and he did it the way he wanted it done - not the way I would have done it. Good for him, I'm glad I had the pleasure of enjoying his vision of what magic is ... and I hope the show does well for him in the future. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get the oppurtunity to show the world what my vision of magic is ... and I can then listen to all of you tell me why I am no good while counting my money.

JoeJoe


Great post JoeJoe, and I agree with everything you said.
Danny T.
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Hey DaveB
that's exactely the reason I don't come to this site anymore I was just passing by cause I knew there were going to bash Criss I coudn't resist. I can't believe this site. obn....
Magic is a dream in which we put ourselves in the fantasy of the reality that surrounds us. It's a wishful thinking that all human kind posses. It's life itself. And I for one believe in it.
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JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2005-07-22 19:19, Doug Peters wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-07-22 09:05, Magicbarry wrote:
Amazing how all the non-magicians I've talked to loved the show ... and yet for the bashers, all the non-magicians they've talked to hated the show.
This is an excellent observation. I think that this tells us that we tend to make friends who are somewhat like ourselves. I've always wanted to do a study of demographics and magic. There are some crowds that "get into the show" and others whose reaction is more "get lost", even when the magic is done well. All too often, the theorists tell us that the response to a show is entirely dependent on the performer. This is simply not true.


I think the bashers comments reflect the general problem with a lot of the complaints here ... we are setting the "tone" for the conversations about Chris Angel ... the basher's friends most likely said they didn't like they show because they knew he didn't like the show, the most common reaction is to emulate someone else's reaction ... and since a laymen would view a magician as an authority on the matter, if he thought it was no good it must not be any good.

My first encounter with a laymen since seeing the special was a security guard at my local pitch - he showed up almost instantly after I setup and was all excited to tell me about this guy he saw on TV - he didn't know his name, but I was able to fill him in and we both shared in the delight of the impossible illusions he performed. It was a great convo, and he returned later that night with a fellow security guard because he wanted his friend to see my floating cigarette, which impressed him greatly and flattered me also.

That is how the Chris Angel special helps us, it excites people about magic in general. If I had bashed the special in any way, then his excitment would also be bashed and I wouldn't have picked up my new fan. Thank you Chris Angel! Smile

JoeJoe
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love2laugh
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Unfortunatetly, I didn't enjoy the show. I work at a fortune 100 company managing a group of 334 engineers, scientists, technicians, and others. I watched the show with 8 friends who ranged in age from 24 to 44. I am 34 years old if that means anything. The individuals at my work were only about 15 people and since I work and manage sooo many more than that number please don't think 23 people is a lot. Everyone I talked to who watched the show were disappointed and thought it was rather anti-climatic relative to the marketing. They also thought it insulted their intelligence since many of the effects were so obviously only possible through television edits. I did not exaggerate my claims nor did I intend to bash without merit. We did not enjoy the show. I provided many examples of magicians I have enjoyed on television. Dean Dill, Paul Gertner, David Copperfield, and even David Blaine. David Blaine performing for the Dallas Cowboys was priceless. The reaction from Emmit Smith and Deon Sanders was very enjoyable. It is as much fun watching the reaction from the spectators as it is seeing the performance. In Criss Angel's show the audience reactions seemed very fake and contrived. The show could have been better if Criss Angel just performed as he typically does rather than rely on the T.V. edit crutch. I have been told he is very talented yet it did not come across and this is unfortunate. I am would love for this show to be a success and wanted to provide my opinions. Sorry if it offended anyone here on the Café.
cocomax
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I read in the NY Post that Criss believes that magic has become a "cheap novelty"

He also said "I feel that pain is beautiful because it is a sensation of being alive."

If you want to read the whole article go to google groups and do a search for "magic has become a cheap novelty"


NEW YORK, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ --
"David, get out of your silly little box. As I've always said --
any time, any place, any challenge. You had to run to London to escape
your biggest fear... me. You've talked about a challenge between us in
the press, but it was just a bunch of BS, like most of what you do."

-Criss Angel
jynx
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All I can say is how sad I find it that people can talk so badly about one another. To me this seems like one big argument not a discussion. "There were stooges and there were camera tricks," there was this and there was that. He did it this way or he did it that way. (By the way could that be a form of exposure?) Why does it all matter so much?? How many of you were there to witness any of his effects? How many of you personally know him enough to be so judgmental of his style and character?
I read quite a few negative posts about Alain Nu's show and yet when he started posting there were nothing but positive comments. Why is that?

As far as the burned alive demonstration goes, someone earlier posted, "It was NOT Criss on fire. Watch the show again closely and you will see." If I quoted wrong then please correct me. I know my word means nothing here but I can assure you that it WAS Criss on fire. I was there and was no further than 10 feet away from him. I felt the heat coming off his body as he turned towards me. I seen his face before, during, and after he was "lit". He talked to the whole crowd just seconds before he was set on fire. I was there to witness the whole thing!!!

Not everyone will like the show and everyone will have their own views. After reading the posts here I have asked a few people if they liked the show. They all said they enjoyed it. My kids have watched it a few times already and love it. I don't really care who likes it and who don't. I liked it very much and that is all that matters to me................
Doug Peters
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Quote:
On 2005-07-23 01:03, love2laugh wrote:
Unfortunatetly, I didn't enjoy the show. I work at a fortune 100 company managing a group of 334 engineers, scientists, technicians, and others.
Ah! "The effects of demographics on magic"! Engineers, scientists and technicians are known to be very difficult audiences for magic. They can enjoy it, but they they are extremely sensitive to being manipulated. And they have pre-conceived "rules of engagement", that, if broken, will spoil the show for them. Most of my scientist buddies are fans of P&T, for example.
"if you have any answers, it's time to ask harder questions!"
Michael Dustman
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Love2laugh,

Hey....quick note. I apologize if you got the impression I was "doubting" your claim or implied I thought you were exaggerating. (The dangers of internet writing)

I was actually just amazed that many people you were familiar with all happened to tune in. I work for the US Senate managing a staff and some of those stuffy political types are huge fans of A & E, but not a lot that I knew had tuned in.

Wasn't doubting you, just sort of impressed that many people heard about it. I did not find any offense in your post whatsoever.

Michael
blindbo
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I suppose I'm somewhat of a minority here in actually enjoying it.
You see, I LOVE to be fooled. I watch with the eyes and heart of a young boy who's never opened a magic book. Boy, how much fun that is!

Do I know how some of these effects were accomplished? I probably do, but those thoughts only come to me long after my widdened eyes narrow and I think about how I might instill that same awe and magic in someone else.

I'm not into the music, though - too much freakin' MindFreak loops.
Alex Linian
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Here's the thing guys,
Our opinion about the show doesn't really matter to Criss Angel. We are magicians (if you're not then I don't know what you're doing on this forum), and we are a minority. The show was aimed toward Laymen who are tired of the watching the same old thing.
Now, I know that some of you have said that your friends, who are laymen also didn't like the show; However I believe that a person who befriends a magician can no longer be consider a laymen.

I kinda seems some of you are mad cause you couldn't learn a new trick to show your friends.

I also had mixed feelings about the show but I came to the conclusion that I wasn't supposed to like the show. As a magician, I was slightly dissapointed. As a TV viewer it was cool to see something different on TV.

Alex Linian
MopKrayz
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I think I qualify as a performing magician, and I liked what Criss Angel presented, even though most of the "big" illusions are a rehash from his other specials (Mindfreak, Made in Japan, Supernatural).
I also like the cheesola style magic, comedy magic....
Pete W.
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To bad that it's the way TV needs to be presented nowadays that causes this "over-the-top" reality format. In order to make a show exciting, it seems to me that it must contain what I have heard described as "Flash and trash"--a lot of flashy camera effects and cuts, edits, what-have-you --that dilutes the actual core message of a performance piece. Criss is a polished performer that did extremely well considering the way a show of this type must be presented. I personally didn't think it was the greatest show, but this is NOT a reflection of Criss and his talent.


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flobiwan
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I'm confused about something on the burned alive special. Let's assume for a moment that all the behind-the-scenes interviews were honest and accurate. Angel was setting himself on fire as a birthday present for his mother. She stated in the interview that she was afraid and wished he would reconsider. So what was the present supposed to be? "Mom, I'm going to scare the crap out of you by doing something dangerous that you wish I wouldn't. Happy birthday!" Wouldn't a better gift to her be to forgo performing the stunt for her.

Even if we buy all the "candid" statements from everyone, it makes no sense. Angel shows a complete lack of concern for his mother's feelings. Why would anyone want to portray themselves like that on TV?

Fredd
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Huh..I said before that I am not a magician. I perform circus and sideshow stunts, but not magic.
I am a *huge* fan of magic, but I am a layman for the most part.
I couldn't stand the show.
I actually won't be watching again because if it wasn't for the fun my son and his friends were having mocking the show (and they were, alot), I wouldn't have been entertained at all. This is my honest opinion, not an extreme statement.

Criss is astute at some of what he does. But there was a lot that I felt was, for lack of a better word, wrong with this show, be it camera angles, those dreadful "character in the desert" presentations, editting, or the fact that some of what was done was very blatant about *how* it was done (his body burn) or even the staging (voodoo, if he wanted it to be convincing, perhaps he should have found a way to turn *his* back to the people "stabbing" him). He may be nice in person behind the scenes, but to me his persona seemed about as charismatic and engaging as a cardboard cutout.
And it has nothing to do with not liking the dramatic-goth style, as I like it when it is done well.

And btw, legally...to say something sucks *is* bashing. To say that you *think* or *feel* something sucks, is not. That is merely expressing an opinion. Smile
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Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 02:59, Randwill wrote:

No, I understand that a lot of the old classics effects are outdated for today's television audience. I'm not perturbed over his choice of material. It's that he didn't really do some of the tricks he "did".

The butterfly in napkin, the ring in the ice cube, the garbage can-to-roof were all presented with edits. He didn't really perform the tricks. [...]



As one of the consultants for the show I can say that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

I will have to re-watch the show to see these edits that seem to have you so concerned. It was a little disappointing to see A&E run a banner over the beginning of the routine, but I can assure you that the ring-in-ice cube - which used a method I devised - was performed LIVE for unrehearsed laymen who were blown away by the effect. No edits are required for the effect; it could just as easily be performed live for YOU, "Randwill", and you would most certainly be just as badly fooled.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
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Randwill
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Quote:
On 2005-07-25 00:55, Thomas Wayne wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-07-21 02:59, Randwill wrote:

No, I understand that a lot of the old classics effects are outdated for today's television audience. I'm not perturbed over his choice of material. It's that he didn't really do some of the tricks he "did".

The butterfly in napkin, the ring in the ice cube, the garbage can-to-roof were all presented with edits. He didn't really perform the tricks. [...]



As one of the consultants for the show I can say that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

I will have to re-watch the show to see these edits that seem to have you so concerned. It was a little disappointing to see A&E run a banner over the beginning of the routine, but I can assure you that the ring-in-ice cube - which used a method I devised - was performed LIVE for unrehearsed laymen who were blown away by the effect. No edits are required for the effect; it could just as easily be performed live for YOU, "Randwill", and you would most certainly be just as badly fooled.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne



Hi Thomas. I know this is a long topic, but I mentioned in a post after the one you quoted, that I had watched the show again, and saw how the ring to ice cube was done. Pre-show prep, picking a properly ringed spec, the fact that the ice obscures the ring, a switch. Yep, it's a variation of an object to impossible location. I've done it with a coin signed by me on one side and spec on the other side to an aspirin tin. Also with a signed folded card to ring box (where they can see the card shake around in the box courtesy of a loop of thread before it's "dumped" into my hand) , but enough about me, you can see that I "get it."

Because the tape is edited AFTER he vanishes the ring (and yeah, that banner IS distracting, but you can see the vanish happening just below it) the power of the effect, that is, the ring appearing in an ice cube that was in a drink that was on the table before she gave him the ring, is ruined for the TV viewing audience. Even non-magicians know that if there is a cut, ANYTHING can happen. This is particularly bad for this effect because it could have easily been presented in one continous take. Henning, Copperfield, Burton and Blaine always presented effects like this in one continuous take on their shows precisely because they knew that audiences would suspect camera edits. They knew that for magic to work on television, the TV audience had to know that what they were seeing is what they would have seen had they been there.

If the producers of "Mindfreak" thought that they had to have pointless edits in the middle of a performance because that's what audiences are used to seeing on MTV or reality shows, Angel neeeded different producers. If the performance had to be edited for time, Angel needs to learn that time expands on television and he needs to step up the pace of his performance accordingly.

A question for you; as the person who suggested this clever variation of the object to impossible location, weren't YOU disappointed that it was unnecessarily cut after the ring vanishes. Do you not think it makes it look like Angel didn't have a clean method of retrieving the spec's ring and then switching it back in?

My point is that a non-magician could be made to look like a magician on TV if the work, the stuff that we practice and take pride in doing well, is edited out of the performance.

If you were watching a hurdle race during the Olympics and they showed you the start of the race and then just cut to the finish, and the announcer exclaimed that the winner jumped all the hurdles with more speed and grace than he'd ever seen, wouldn't you feel cheated that the producers had cut that out?
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