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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » Criss Angel Mindfreak series? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Danny Diamond
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Being a WWE employee, I was able to score some tickets to his Mindfreak show held in the former “WWF New York” about 4 years ago. It was a great show. Very theatrical and creative.

I've been following him since then and I am enjoying his new shows very much. The only complaint I have, is that I wish he's feature a few more effects in the show, while the big stunt buildup is going on. I personally don't mind the camera tricks/edits so much, as the end result is an entertaining show.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
DaveB
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Quote:
On 2005-08-04 06:02, Blackpool wrote:
I am saying that a need to belittle one's competition stems from personal insecurity, a lack of self-confidence. It also indicates that you actually have a high opinion of the person you desire to be compared with.

I agree with you there, Blackpool. I will admit I was a little disappointed to see they left in the comment from a fan about Blaine. That comment actually bothered me more then what was said about Houdini. There was truth in the Houdini statement, yet the stab towards Blaine was in bad taste.

When I was in sales, and later worked in marketing, one of the golden rules was to never knock your competition. During the 80's and 90's it was very common to see the competition put down and make fun of McDonalds, yet McDonalds never hit back. They were number 1 in sales back then and they still are today.

I think perhaps Criss is afraid he will be compared to Blaine, and does not want to follow in someone's shadow. Maybe that's one reason his show is so different and sometimes a little over the top. Competition is good and it makes people work harder, and in the end it is usually the consumer who wins. I don't think there has to be a winner between Criss Angel and Blaine. As long as I am watching magic I will be happy.
Blackpool
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Say, what would I have to pay Criss Angel to say "The Amazing Blackpool can kiss my !@#!" on the air? My phone would be ringing off the hook! "Was he talking about YOU?! When's your next show?"
The Amazing Blackpool
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DaveB
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Quote:
On 2005-08-04 22:20, Blackpool wrote:
Say, what would I have to pay Criss Angel to say "The Amazing Blackpool can kiss my !@#!" on the air? My phone would be ringing off the hook! "Was he talking about YOU?! When's your next show?"

Hey, if I'm ever in the audience and the camera zooms in on me after an effect, I promise you I will say "The Amazing Blackpool should kiss that guy's !@#! in my best (fake) New York accent... just slip me a $20 when I see ya!
giochi
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Quote:
On 2005-08-03 22:28, cocomax wrote:
USA Today

It's part of his artistry, says the musician and magician, who also calls himself a mentalist, a hypnotist and an illusionist. And if you ask him about comparisons to David Blaine, who has done such stunts as freezing himself in ice and burying himself alive, Angel says: "Who?"

Full Story
http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005......=LIFISVA


I gonna say this again. Every single trick he performs is a copy of something that Blaine has already performed on television.

Levitation(standing version), String from stomach, Wine glass shattering(with spectators holding hands), Card thru Window, etc etc. Now I'm not saying that no one has performed these effects before- but come on, how un-creative can this guy be? Youd think with all the magic consultants hes got-one of them would say "hey maybe you shouldnt copy off David Blaine so much."

It seems he has really got a chip on his shoulder about being in the shadow of the guy that created this genre of TV magic.

Even more disgraceful is the conscious decision to keep in the footage of a spectator saying "David Blaine could kiss this guys ass". (Funny because this spectator can remeber Blaine's name but not Criss's)

And he says "Who?"
Michael Dustman
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Quote:
On 2005-08-09 13:42, giochi wrote:

I gonna say this again. Every single trick he performs is a copy of something that Blaine has already performed on television.



Well....I know you are a big Blaine fan and not so much one of Criss so you obviously come to this discussion with blinders on, but if every thing he does is a copy of Blaine's, and you imply that he sucks, does that mean Blaine sucks too?
Magicbarry
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Quote:
I gonna say this again. Every single trick he performs is a copy of something that Blaine has already performed on television.

Every single trick?

The ring-to-ice cube? Never seen Blaine do that. Barrel escape? Nope. The "deja vu" effect? Uh uh. Water-to-beer? Must have missed that one. Now, if Angel whips out and invisible deck or cig through quarter on tonight's show, you might be on to something. However, I don't see Blaine-impersonation going on here. Even the effects you mention were done quite differently -- and better.
Joey Stalin
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Well I just watched the Buried Alive one. It had commentary talking about surpassing Houdini, and after he escapes, some guy on the show says "You're better than Houdini" And after that I can't understand who he thinks he is. How he can have his show having him say "Yes I am better than Houdini". Though some of the episodes I notice things related to other effects you see another unnamed tv magician do but scaled up. Almost like you do this this and this with a card and I'll do that that and that and make it float to my hand. Or you appear a foot long garter snake in a kids backpack, I'll appear a 4 foot albino boa in her backpack.
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
unilogo
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You know what....

Criss Angel DID get in my nerves today!I was a fan....TRUELY was. But comparing and SUGGESTING you are better than Houdini, I don't care if it was direct or not, is an INSULT on my art and on THE MASTER.

Two brothers " Yeah, he is better than Houdini!."(only people watching aside from me)

WHAT!!!!????

"The escape Houdini couldn't do , the escape where this man died , the escape I can do(and the poor magicians can't because they don't have millions of dollars to investigate something.)"OR HOUDINI NOT HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE TODAY TO DO THE STUNT.

You know what, I can't believe I had respect for this man. It is sad how LOW he has dropped. Thinking about it, his problem IS THE FACT he is trying to PROVE he has SOME superpowers,"I leave it to you to decide what is real and what is an illusion". I HATE the way he manages to get away with so much with INDIRECT messages. It sickens me....HE SHOULD TELL IT LIKE IT IS.

Houdini and Blaine. Who is next?"The mind reading effect Banacheck couldn't do if he tried!""The psychological suggestions Jermay is not capable of doing!""I am a Messiah!"............

He should drop it. He is killing magic. I even as a "bizarrist"(or very similar) and former lover the guy......quit on him. SAD...VERY SAD day in magic.He is a FAKE.

Enough said....

SO much skill,money, and talent wasted. Aside from making magic "cool," the guy is doing NOTHING for the art and believes he has so much impact. Wannabe Blaine and Houdini.....who by the way just pushes the art into effects we can't do(wouldn't be a problem if HE could too) or tries to point out US magicians have superpowers. We don't ,we have lots of skill and emotions to bring to the world. SO MUCH more, than those COOL effects no one can do.

I fail to find anything "original" from him aside from his tricks.Anyone care to point me out anything else?There is FAR much more to a COMPLETE magic performance.Where is the "Innovation"...please let me see it.
Blackpool
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Entertainment is the point, not originality. Carter the Great was one of the biggest magicians of his day, but I understand he did not have any original effects. Personality goes a long way. (But you'd have to be talking about one charming motherloving pig.)Who here can honestly say s/he has anything that is not derivative?

Criss Angel is "not telling it like it is"?!?!?! Criss Angel is a FAKE?!?!?! Are you saying a magician LIED?!?!?! A magician DECEIVED PEOPLE?!?!?! Dear god in heaven, what is the world coming to?!?!?!
The Amazing Blackpool
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Blackpool@KingstonMagic.com
Eric Dittelman
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Quote:
On 2005-08-11 03:34, unilogo wrote:
It sickens me....HE SHOULD TELL IT LIKE IT IS.

He is a FAKE.


First of all has any magician "told it like it is"? Every magician avoids telling the truth either to hide the method or to play up the performance. Would you attend a performance with a magician who said "This escape uses a sub trunk and I'll be long gone before any risk of danger actually will come into play. So please don't worry for me." Of course you wouldn't, because it either reveals the method, or it's not too exciting!

Therefore, using Houdini as a reference point, I think Criss is just trying to create tension and suspense for his illusion. The lay people who watch the show start with a common background that Angel can build upon to make is illusions more dangerous.

I do think he is taking this approach a little too far though. I've seen all the episodes thus far and we are familiar with the "David Blaine can kiss this guy's ***" and the other Houdini references. I believe he mentioned Houdini at least three times during the Buried Alive episode. It's one thing to use other magician's names as a way to make your effects look great, but it's a whole different ball game to force feed suggested opinions to your audience. If he has to included these references, I would much rather see Angel explain that this is what magician-so-and-so can do, and this is what I'm doing differently. Therefore letting the audience decide it's own opinions on whether he's "greater than Houdini" or not. Regardless, the bottomline is he should show respect for all magicians, past and present. And this is where I think he's coming up very very short.

OK, on to my review part of this post...I was not too impressed with this episode. I enjoyed some of his past episodes, but I did not feel any suspense during this escape. I understand that being buried alive is very dangerous, but I was pretty bored at the presentation. The suspense they decided to add was "rain" and "time". The use of time to create supsense only took up more of the episode to the show that nothing was happening. This escape, I think, just isn't conducive for TV, unless performed with a lot of psychology and thought out very thoroughly. In addition, it looked very very set-up with the spectators sitting in funeral type chairs and all having black umbrellas on hand conveniently in case it rained. Not to mention that Rob Zombie didn't really add anything with his presence, except add to the force opinion "You out did Houdini". This last statement I had a lot of issues with because if performing something Houdini didn't perform is "out doing" him, then wouldn't anyone who did a levitation of made a motorcycle appear be "out doing him" as well? I don't recall Houdini ever doing these...

I watched this special last night with one of my best friends who knows little about magic, but is very perceptive and is a very logical thinker. He didn't enjoy this episode, particularly the shadow effects. He undestood that these seemed like interesting ideas, but because it was on TV. He immediately began to speculate about the different camera angles they were using, and for all we know there is a lot of "off-screen" work that could be done to accomplish the effect. I agreed with him totally and then brought up the question, "What if you saw this effect live?" He no doubtedly said he would be very impressed. Thefore what annoyed me about the shadow effect was that the audience had no frame of reference. Angel simply performed a couple of effects in front of the camera and then brought in two seemingly random people to had the trick performed on. We as a TV audience don't even know if they're random or not! If you're going to perform on TV, I believe that it is important to have an actual audience watching the effects to give the audience at home the idea that it would be exactly the same on TV as if they were there live. It gives a reference point! That's why his the Burned Alive and Spectator Suspension worked well for me. He was surrounded by a group of people in the middle of the street in Las Vegas. If I happened to be there when recording those stunts, I could see the exact same thing! That is what also detracted from the Buried Alive stunt. Because of the remote location of the stunt, the people who were there watching were presumed to be either part of his family or part of his consultant crew or Rob Zombie. There was no "everyday" person who could react and give his/her own reaction to the stunt therefore the audience to believe they would have a similar reaction. The reaction we saw were those of people who had ties to Criss Angel and therefore might be perceived as coming off as forced!

Now I'm not jumping on the bash Criss Angel band wagon, because honestly I have enjoyed the other episodes and appreciate that he even has a magic series when I by no means would be able to pull this off. Therefore my review is simply from my experience as a magician and my friend's experience as a lay person to give my opinion of what I feel could be captivating television. Sometimes as magicians, the wooled is pulled over our eyes and can't really know what the audience is perceiving.

-Eric D.
Joey Stalin
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You people are taking what he said way to literlly. I am not sure if that is intended or not, but it is just dumb.
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
Red Von
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If memory serves me correct, Steve Shaw "BANACHEK" performed the "Buried Alive" escape on national TV several years ago, successfully I might add, with a much better presentation. What was funny watching and hearing the comments during the Criss Angel stunt, was that BANACHEK was also a consultant, but no word mentioned of his "Buried Alive" escape!!
giochi
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How bout the fake hollywood rain and the luck that everyone just happened to be carrying around umbrellas.
Red Von
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Yeah, the rain was a bit much!!

If anyone has not seen the "Buried Alive" escape as performed by Steve "BANACHEK" Shaw, I highly recommend getting a video copy of his escape.

His presentation was outstanding!! The whole escape, from begining to end was a 5 Star escape!! I have seen several other versions of the "Buried Alive" escape by other Escape Artist's/Magicians, and I must say that the Steve Shaw escape stands above them all!!
Bardin
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I kind of have to agree with unilogo. I think Criss is claiming that Houdini didn't have the guts like he does. I think that is disrespectful to 1) a person that is synonymous with magic and 2). is dead and can't defend himself.
Bardin
pcamel
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Am I the only one who thinks that its hilarious that all these people talking about him during the show are "mindfreak consultants?" I mean, am I to believe anything that any one of those people has to say about how dangerous the stunt is or how brave he is. No offense to Mr. Banachek or to Mr. Jermay but come on. I stopped believing anything that comes out of any of the people's mouths on these specials.
I have seen too much that has been bull**** to continue to believe anything else that they say. You don't have to be a magician either to know when people are full of it.
All these "dangerous" escapes and stunts begin to lose their element of danger when you see them every week and when Criss Angel's whiney brother complains about how scared he is. This isn't magic but a poorly scripted pseudo reality show.
And the burial episode was the last straw. I can't believe I wasted my time watching this crap. Fake rain, overkill on the melodrama, respectable people and magicians blatantly lying.
Houdini once said that people come to see him not because they want him to die but because if it should happen they want to be there when it happens. If Criss Angel died then maybe at least we'd have the first genuine moment in a "make-believe" show that tries to pass itself off as reality.
Randwill
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I thought the "rain" looked awfully sourcey, too. This wasn't helped by shots of a full moon rising in a clear sky, which, like everything else in this series, could have been shot anytime, anywhere.

Had to laugh at Banachek's line about Angel being in total darkness once the dirt covered the coffin lid. I guess he hadn't seen the footage of him in the well lit coffin.

Surprised no one has mentioned Lance Burton's performance of the buried alive stunt on television a few years ago. Since Burton agreed to appear on a previous episode of Mindfreak, I suppose any boastful comparisons by Angel and crew were nixed. And anyway, Mindfreak's target audience is too young to have seen the Burton performance when it was broadcast.

Randwill
Joey Stalin
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I was thinking it was saying to younger generations that have little to no idea who and what Houdini did that "I am Criss Angel. I have the guts to do what Houdini didn't. I am better then he ever was."

But I remember one guy saying the weather report said there was no chance of rain, then they all have umbrellas. But I was also questioning if it took for the escape as the show said it did.
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
tlfdoc
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I'm amazed at the number of negative comments about Criss Angel in this forum. It seems some have lost sight of what a magician tries to do: entertain and mystify, often using whatever means is at their disposal. It seems ridiculous to criticize a televised demonstration of "magic" when we all know it's not possible to actually levitate, produce a live butterfly from a napkin, catch a bullet in our mouth, etc. It's a trick!

The bottom line for me is that Criss Angel is putting magic back on television and attracting a larger audience that anyone in recent memory, and he's doing it in a unique style that is his own, something pitifully lacking in most magic acts. I recommend reading the GENII interview of Criss this month, where he talks about the show and what he's trying to accomplish. He admits that there is a blend of magic, reality show, and surreal artistic use of camera effects and the television medium to produce something that has not been done before. I am very impressed with the shows so far, and I am inspired like others have said to look at my own magic in a different way.

I'm also of course curious to try to figure out, of all the effects on the MINDFREAK special, what he could actually duplicate in a live performance. I believe he states that most of what he does on the show he can do live. I'll look forward to seeing him perform live and would like to hear from anyone who has seen him perform.
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