Criss Angel

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Postby Gary Michaels » 07/15/07 03:47 PM

I'm completely baffled that magicians (including the AMA, who made him Magician of the Year in 2005) aren't appalled by this fellow.

And that superior performers like Banachek and Johnny Thompson have been paid enough to support this total BS.

Richard Kaufman himself explained away the constant camera tricks and stooges by saying that (paraphrasing) the people at A&E have to burn these shows out so quickly that they haven't enough money to show him performing the illusions in realtime.

I wonder how performing magicians feel about this.

Are you asked to duplicate Angel's impossible stunts (like hypnotizing an entire audience into falling down, asleep, as Angel did in one of his shows this year)? Which Banachek endorsed wholeheartedly?

His "street magic," using stooges to the very best advantage?

I'm very curious as to how this is "good for magic"...

I'm 52 and, although I'm no longer a performer myself, I worked Fechter's 4th FFFF in 1974 and co-founded Rings & Things 2 (RnT2) with original RnT owner Mike Brazill so I have just a little bit of credibility.

AMA Magician of the Year? Hilarious.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 03:55 PM

I'm very curious as to how this is "good for magic"...
Because the general viewing public don't know about the stooges or camera tricks. They just see a guy doing the impossible. THAT is what is good for magic.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 04:09 PM

The problem is that once a viewer hears, figures out or suspects that video trickery or stooges are involved, then it is quite easy to use that as explanation (true or false) for pretty much any trick seen on TV. And that is very bad, because magic would be reduced to nothing but video editing, computer graphics and paying your audience. And that would certainly not be good for magic.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 04:17 PM

Gary

While you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I only ask if you know what standards are applied by the AMA to determine who is considered for magician of the year? Have you ever spoken with those who nominate magican of the year candidates?
Before you take the AMA to task, I invite you to speak with them to determine their standards. It may well be that your understanding of them is incomplete.

Respectfully.
M. Newman Esq.
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Postby Gary Michaels » 07/15/07 05:40 PM

"Because the general viewing public don't know about the stooges or camera tricks. They just see a guy doing the impossible. THAT is what is good for magic."


So when you're asked to perform these miracles, how do you reply?

We agree to disagree. This isn't magic, it's cameras, stooges and respected performers paid off to sell the show on A&E.

You really didn't answer my question.
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Postby Gary Michaels » 07/15/07 05:45 PM

"While you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I only ask if you know what standards are applied by the AMA to determine who is considered for magician of the year? Have you ever spoken with those who nominate magican of the year candidates?
Before you take the AMA to task, I invite you to speak with them to determine their standards. It may well be that your understanding of them is incomplete."

I'm not sure that I have. But I know that I've respected most of the people who've won the title for their chops and their overall talent over the last 20 or so years. I don't recall anyone who scams on this level winning it.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 06:42 PM

So you are contending that mass hypnosis is impossible?? Or simply that he faked it on his show? Would the alternative notion, that a room full of stooges is the only method that you can produce and that alternative methods are possible, be wholly implausible?

I don't know if he used stooges for the hypnosis scene or not, but am willing to investigate alternative methods.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 07:04 PM

John W. I would say based on the extent of camera edits, use of whole audiences as stooges I would say that CA actually using stooges for his mass hypnosis effect is pretty much a given.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 10:23 PM

I'd be happy if he would stop exposing. Caught him on Larry King and he exposed a match vanish. It's very simple, yet in his exposing he claimed that it was a, I forget the exact wording, great effect. He stressed that if the viewer doesn't know the method it is astounding, which is true for any bit in my book. (A book that hasn't been written yet and probably won't be published even in PDF form)If it's a great effect stop ruining it for the viewer.

I perform a simple broken and restored toothpick bit and it amazes people. It's along the lines of something that Criss thinks is mundane enough to expose. For one guy to be so elevated in his own mind to be the one who decides what is so elementary that he can freely expose it frankly riles me.

I refuse to acknowledge him as a Magician. There are few rules to be followed, things that should be set in stone, and flat out giving it away is one of them.

Jerrine
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 12:47 AM

I refuse to acknowledge him as a Magician.
I feel the same way. He's good at what he does, but it's more along the lines of reality TV, something that most viewers realize is set up. I saw a couple of episodes and then lost all interest because there is little magic to be found.
But the publicity is all there, which is good for his Cirque du Soleil show next year in Vegas in which he will not be able to use camera editing...

Denis
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/16/07 02:33 AM

Gary Michaels wrote:
So when you're asked to perform these miracles, how do you reply?
Why not reply "No, you want his stuff, hire him."?

Do you mean that you would perform Angels pieces, if it had been possible? Isn't that too a breach of ethics, or something?
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 02:42 AM

I might be wrong, but I think Gary did not refer to himself but rather to Criss Angel. If he is asked to perform virtually anything from his specials, he won't be able to do it live. (Which is sad, since magic is supposed to be a performance art that should be experiences live in my opinion.)

Denis
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 05:56 AM

Actually there are quite a few things he could perform live from his specials, I have been asked if I can perform some of the things he performs & I have a simple response, yes with a multimillion dollar busget I could perform any number of things he does but I do not & nor do you.
1st Blaine, then CA, magicians do not care much for change but then who does, use what you can to your advantange & with the rest move on.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/07 07:28 AM

Criss's response to the questions about editing has always been the same: if he can reproduce the effect in his live stage show, he'll do it (using whatever method possible) on TV.

Fact is, he can reproduce virtually everything he's done in a live stage show with various methods that are familiar to many of us.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 07:50 AM

If we were able to change things such that magic was actually represented to the public in a manner more acceptable to the magic community who would be considered the best magician to fill that position today? Is it a close-up performer (some laypeople don't even know this is a type of magic) or a stage/illusion performer? Or maybe who should have won the award instead of Criss?
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 07:51 AM

Whatever your opinion is of CA regarding cameras, etc....there's simply no denying that the guy has magic chops equal to the best of them.

He has excellent card skills, and uses standard mentalism routines brilliantly. His presentational skills with standard magic props are through the roof as shown for example, with the Doug Malloy prediction chest at the race track.

Criss Angel is an excellent magician.

I don't like camera tricks much either, but to imply that's all he does is misrepresenting the truth.
A large percentage of his magic as performed on his show is standard mentalism/magic re-worked and polished.

It's far from being all edits and camera work.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 07:59 AM

Criss Angel is an excellent magician?
You're high, man.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/07 08:12 AM

Criss Angel IS an excellent magician. Those who saw his live show in Times Square will tell you that.

At the moment he's in the same situation that Paul Daniels was in with his long-running British TV series--too much to deliver on too short a schedule.

What you're seeing on TV is not what he's going to deliver on stage when his show opens at the Luxor.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 08:27 AM

The only real exposure I've had to Criss Angel's work (aside from the raving reviews from laymen) is the recent acquisition of the Supernatural DVD.

Much of it wasn't really interesting to me from a style point of view, but the clips of what seemed to be a working stage show were very inspirational. For someone looking to move into larger illusions, the idea that classical effects can be redesigned to fit a common theme is very very cool. Apparently one can get away from brightly colored, silly looking boxes.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 08:49 AM

I agree with Richard. I saw his show in Time Square and it was really great! He did classics of magic with his own twist to make them look original. Also he was very nice to my whole group and spent a good few minutes talking magic with me and my friend.

I do not like his series very much because it seems he is doing the same things over and over just in different locations. I was watching a rerun last night and he floated up in the air and over a tree and back down. How is this different from floating in the light at the Luxor. Also many of the effects look too "set up", not by using stooges but by having props given to the spectators for Criss to use. Like Balloons and scarves.

Just a side note, did anyone else notice when Criss made the elephant reappear that he also made the elephant's trainer appear as well. That's Amazing!!

Thanks,
Frank
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 09:30 AM

I don't have the problem with the camera angles and cuts that others that post here do. Every magician controls what his/her audience sees. It is not only regular, its necessary. Much more so when it is being filmed, and people can record and review in ultra slow mode and what not. If the guy was using cgi or something then there might be a problem. But from the little I know about magic, most great performers use stooges or confederates from time to time, so why is that a problem for anyone?
Regardless the guy is what he is, and thats an out of this galaxy magician, and even better performer.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 10:18 AM

Every magician controls what his/her audience sees. It is not only regular, its necessary.
The reason I don't like the extensive cutting, stooging and editing is not so much that it is "cheating", but more because I don't think it fools intelligent laypeople. It is not deceptive enough and is an obvious solution that is not really cancalled. But that's just my opinion, maybe I am wrong and people sit in front of the TV and believe they could as well be the "random" spectators that witness the illusions in the specials.

Denis
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 11:49 AM

What you're seeing on TV is not what he's going to deliver on stage when his show opens at the Luxor.
Just wondering, but isn't this TV stuff the exact stuff that laypeople are freaking out over? So will he be as good to them in the stage show without the ease of TV/editing to help some of the magic? I'm not familiar enough with what his stage show contains so maybe someone could give a few details of why it will or will not be as strong.

I think Criss is a showman and can surly command an audience, but I'm not impressed with everything he calls magic.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/07 12:33 PM

In the TV show, where you're out on the street in broad daylight, surrounded by people, you're left to using the camera to accomplish things.

In the live show, where you're on a stage, with controlled lighting and all the people sitting in front of you, you have all the traditional techniques to use. And the audience is seeing it live--not on TV. It's an entirely different and much more desirable circumstance.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 12:52 PM

I've seen some of the old live show in video clips and I've seen him on other television programs doing performances from said show.

Again, not impressed.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/07 01:31 PM

You're entitled to your opinion.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 01:38 PM

I just read on yahoo that NBC has signed a deal with both Criss and Uri Geller for a competition where they will search for the "next great mentalist".
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/16/07 02:24 PM

What it tells you is that when the big guns hire someone they will go for Criss, David Blaine, Lance Burton and Copperfield. The rest are in the herd.

Quit complaining about the guys that have figured out how to get a tv special and a theater of their own in Las Vegas.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 07:22 PM

Travis, the "you're high man" bit is lame and uncalled for.

If you want to share your opinion of course you're free to do so, but your opinion on Criss as a magician ISN'T shared by many magicians, and an even lower percentage of laymen.

You're obviously completely unaware of Cirque and their overall and unrelenting hunt for quality.
Believe me, if Angel weren't a great magician, Cirque wouldn't have anything to do with him.......trust me, I worked for them for many years in Montreal and know that their MINIMUM acceptance level for talent is greater than most other producers maximum expectations.

Angel is at the very top of his game.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 07:42 AM

I think Silverking is dead on. Also, I just don't get how people are going to sit there and say that Criss's magic is not good. His illusions, and I'm not talking about the huge multi-hundred-thousand dollar ones, at the end of each program. I am talking about the ones he does on the street, or in front of a small audience. I know they are not really impromptu, I know they have some confederates, and I know the camera is placed where you can hide the effect. But come on. Those illusions are fantastic, regardless. When a magician does a live close up illusion, whether its mentalism, slight of hand, levitation, or whatever else. He/she uses the same things that CA does. They all use stooges for some tricks, angles to where they have people stand and watch, and we all try to make it appear impromptu, even though we've had "invisisble thread attached to our ear since earlier in the day." Making it look impromptu, and not set up, is part of the fantasy. The other thing you have to keep in mind is that the illusions are being performed for the tv audience. So if you were there with CA in live, he would stand you where the camera is, and guess what; the illusion would be as unbelieveable as it is watching it from your tube. The guy really is that good. Why don't people just accept the fact? One more thing, this guy has some of the most respected and loved professionals of the art in his corner. People like Johnny Thompson, Steve Banachek, Luke Jermay, Lance Buton, etc. Does anyone trully believe that these guys can just be bought like that, and risk their well deserved reputation? To even suggest that is an insult to these people. I'm just a novice, so I might be out of line posting this, but it all just seems very obvious to me.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 07:46 AM

p.s. I also know for a fact that most of the illusions have real observers, and not stooges observing the tricks. Whether there are stooges there adding to or helpin in the effect I can't say, probably so more often than not. But, most of the audience is live, and not in on anything. I know a couple of the security gaurds at the Luxor, and they have confirmed that fact.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 08:18 AM

(longish post warning, sorry)

The Doug Malloy 'Master Prediction System', it's basic, high quality magic.

CA took this standard magic prop (and principle) and turned it into something huge (the racetrack prediction).
His presentation skills were brilliant during this effect, the audience at the track was stunned with the prediction, and the entire effect was a killer.......it was all the drivers could talk about after the race was over.

REAL magic, REAL presentation, easily performed LIVE (it was live), NO camera tricks needed, NO editing needed, GREAT magic, and an off the shelf REAL magic product.

He does quality magic consistently, week in and week out on his TV show.

Just for the record, I despise magic that's a result of camera trickery or editing.
CA does employ these methods on some of his effects, and I find them boring.......I just don't watch them.
But to imply that he does ONLY effects that employ camera trickery is simply to be uninformed.

He bounces back and forth with Blaine as the most famous living magician in the world, and he's deserving of every bit of his current success.

As a fan of magic, and an amateur magician, CA's new show in Vegas will be my first stop on my next trip.
I believe that what Cirque will bring to the stage with CA will be something totally new, and may just push magic off into a new direction once again, reinvented as a true spectacular.

It's worth remembering that the sole voice of authority in Cirque is Guy Laliberte with his 95% stake in the company. His history is one of a street entertainer and in fact if you were to ask HIM what he does, he'd tell you he was a street entertainer whose specialty was fire breathing. That's who the guy is, a fire breathing street busker who at heart is wandering the streets of Quebec City with his small troupe busking for quarters. That's where he came from, and at their very central heart, that's what Cirque still is, and re-creates in each and every show they produce.

Don't underestimate what Guy Laliberte and Criss Angell will come up with for this new show.......they're both truly gifted performers, with essentially unlimited funding and truly unlimited technical resources behind them, and with a potentially symbiotic connection between the two of them that could put this show over the top.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 09:16 AM

this is ridiculuos that the lame excuse of "too much material to put out in too little time" should be used! We are talking about the art of magic here! Saying that Chris can reproduce just about all of the effects live on stage, does not concern the layman. A camera trick is a camera trick to them. Chris is an edit-magician if anything. Magicians make REAL magic to REAL people...;[)
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 09:33 AM

I don't mean any insult by this. But that is a very uninformed remark. Have you read any of my previous posts? Do you think I just made it up for the heck of it?
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 09:36 AM

I'm sorry, his shows are one thing and I'm sure Cirque will be another, but even on recent talk shows he was average at best in my opinion. Somebody like Jason Randal gets ripped for a so-so presentation using props most of us probably have in a drawer, but Criss Angel comes on and magicians are praising it. Like I thought before he is a good showman and crowds can like him, but he just does a whole different style of magic than I personally like, especially when it is away from his TV show. I guess if you are at the top of your game you get to be a bit more low key in interviews...and his hand was hurt I guess.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/17/07 10:08 AM

"He bounces back and forth with Blaine as the most famous living magician in the world"

I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. Criss's show is on cable TV and he gets an audience of between 1 and 2 million a week, but mostly 1.5. Blaine's shows were on ABC, a network, and his audiences have been many times that size.

Most laymen have no idea who Criss Angel is, but they do know who David Blaine is.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 10:19 AM

Richard, can you please disagree with me without the 'ridiculous' tag?
It's starting to become a habit that your disagreements with me are always tagged with some sort of put down.
I won't gloat, but the last disagreement complete with put-down (the exposure of Blizzard) you had with me was in fact one you had to back out of entirely.

Anyway, I'll disagree with you on this point. I believe that having an ABC special once every couple of years that's viewed by a lot of folks once balances well with having a weekly show on cable watched by a couple of million folks but having a couple of million people watching you EVERY week.

EVERY single person I know (be they laymen or magician) who knows the name Criss Angel also knows the name David Blaine, and the reverse is also true.

So I will disagree with you Richard, but won't use any additional language in effort to put you down while doing so :)
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 10:26 AM

I perform a lot in the Washington DC outlying suburbs, and would say I am asked about Criss
Angel twice as much as David Blaine. In my experience it seems that Criss Angel has taken over from Blaine. I think this might have to do with the proliferation of viral video clips on youtube.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 10:59 AM

Perhaps my way of stating my opinion felt a little knee-jerky.
Apologies.

I'll agree with Richard here that David Blaine is more of a celebrity than Angel. And I much prefer David's approach to the in-your-face-look-at-how-cool-I-am way of Angel.
Granted, appearing on a network gives David the freedom to spread out his television appearances, but I think it adds much more mystery to disappear like that for a year or so between shows.

I am well aware of the Cirque standards. I have friends in the Cirque show right here in Orlando.

Just telling you what I personally think of Criss. He bores me. And his attitude is extremely irritating for me to watch. And I just don't find him very compelling as a performer. I don't care if others do, it doesn't mean I have to. And it doesn't make me right or wrong. It's simply how I feel.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 11:21 AM

The names I hear most from laymen are David Copperfield and David Blaine.

I thnk Copperfield because he still performs live in the Chicago area once or twice a year.
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