Criss Angel

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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.
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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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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/17/07 12:34 PM

Sorry, but "ridiculous" is exactly what I meant. Blaine is far more famous than Angel. It might not always be that way, but it's certainly that way now.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 12:45 PM

I've hesitated to comment on the whole TV-magician theme because I think the question of legitimate deception versus wrongful deception in a magic act is a complex issue. I can see the various sides.

The following comments articulate my gut unease with these performers.

I think there's an ethical difference between deceiving someone by doing a piece of performance magic, on the one hand, and by lying to people about your ability to do the trick, on the other hand.

Here's a simple example of what I mean.

Blaine is able to perform the Ambitious Card. He can stand in front of me and do it as well as he did it on TV. I will see the same thing. The trick will be deceptive, as it should be, but he's not lying about his ability to do the trick.

On the other hand, when I see him on TV levitate a foot in the air on a public sidewalk with no visible means of support, to the astonishment of members of the public who are also on the sidewalk -- well, he's lying to me.

He can't do that trick as shown. He can't stand on the street in front of my house, in front of me and my neighbors, and levitate like that. I'd say his TV performance amounts to unethically lying to the TV audience.

It's a bit like those 19th- or 18th-century performers who would draw audiences by publicizing some wildly outrageous piece of magic (like putting themselves into a small bottle) they had no capacity to perform. I'd call that practice a lie, not show biz.

At the same time, I acknowledge some gray areas. What about card tricks that use relatively simple techniques to simulate the truly difficult sleights of card sharps? What about mentalism acts that are presented without a disclaimer that the audience is watching a magic act?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/17/07 01:16 PM

Here's something I've never understood:

What difference does it make if anything can be performed live or not?

When someone says, "Yeah, but he can't do it live," how is it any different from someone saying "Yeah, but he can't do it with a borrowed deck."

In other words: he's not trying to do it with your deck. He's not trying to do it in person. He's doing it for TV. He should use the advantages provided by TV the same way someone might use the advantages of performing at a table to lap a few items.

The problem comes when the method becomes transparent. If they know you dropped the coin into your lap, the magic is ruined. Likewise, if they know you used camera tricks, the magic is ruined. But that doesn't mean camera tricks are bad -- it just means that they weren't used properly. They weren't used in a deceptive manner.

If there's a performer who can use camera tricks in an effective manner such that it isn't obvious what he's doing, then I say great! Why not?

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Postby Steve Bryant » 07/17/07 01:26 PM

Eric,

Actually, I considered Blaine's levitation a gray area and gave him a pass on that one. I am convinced, that is, that the three ladies screaming when he floated was a genuine reaction to him doing the Balducci levitation. I've achieved similar reactions myself. Yes, it was a cheat to then edit in an enhanced floating for the viewing audience, but I considered that "even" as tv would have diminished the effect the levitation has on a live audience. (Similarly, television greatly diminished what it was like to watch Slydini or Goshman in person, because their wonderful misdirection couldn't misdirect the camera.) In general, though, I agree with you and hate seeing anyone use camera trickery. Criss Angel has run it into the ground (a shame as he CAN do great stuff live), and none of my lay friends are impressed. Perhaps the blame should go back to David Copperfield and his floating over the Grand Canyon. I'd love to see what David would do these days with a NEW special.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 07/17/07 01:38 PM

CA uses TV as a method. It may interest some, it doesn't interst me. Magic should be performed before a live audience otherwise it's not magic. Just TV.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 02:19 PM

It's an interesting and slippery issue. I'm not firm in my attitude.

Would you call someone a acrobat if you saw him do a circus act on TV and it turned out the performance was created by computer-generated methods?

Imagine if we watched a piano concert on TV and it turned out that the performer was actually sitting at a player piano. And we weren't told that at the time but discovered it later. I, for one, would feel lied to. I thought it was a concert by a skilled musician.

Now, if I were watching a fictional TV show and an actor playing a pianist didn't actually play the piano, of course I wouldn't feel lied to. I'd understand the wholly fictional nature of that show.

A performing magician walks an odd line.

He pretends to have magical powers, so that's fictional. But magicians also have real-life skills, such as sleight of hand and presentational ability.

I want magicians to use their real skills to create the fictional magic. I don't want to watch a simulation of a magician, whose magic is created by camera work and stooges.

I guess I'm old-fashioned. I think Mark Wilson had the right idea in insisting that what you saw on TV was just what you'd see in the studio. Otherwise, we're going to have to say Harry Potter is a great magician.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/17/07 02:33 PM

I believe everyone here is thinking to much and too hard... let's face it... today's tv and films are special effects driven. Look at 300 and the whole thing was CGI and I enjoyed it.

Whatever the magic performers care to do is up to them and it is fine by me.

You can like or dislike it.

Live or TV same deal, you can just simply like or dislike what they do and how they do it.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 02:50 PM

Eric, you've summed it up perfectly - for me, anyway.

Thank you for doing that,
Dave
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/17/07 03:23 PM

What's the difference between a camera trick and a double faced card?

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Postby Guest » 07/17/07 03:34 PM

What's the difference between a camera trick and a double faced card?
If you don't know the difference, then you must think Elizabeth Montgomery is a fantastic magician.
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