Criss Angel Believe

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 2nd, 2010, 6:22 pm

I wouldn't say that Houdini was a lousy actor. He was a lousy actor in films, but he seemed to be quite a good actor in terms of presenting his escapes.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Bystander » April 2nd, 2010, 11:30 pm

I agree Richard. Houdini convinced people of dangers that were not really there. Acting and magic go hand in hand.

In the world today, I also feel that music plays such a big part in magic. Both arts invoke emotion and can really compliment each other if done in the right way. Case in point, when people think of Criss..they automatically hear the Mindfreak scream. Like it or not, it has become his brand. The triologies enhanced the magic...made it even more "real".

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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby flynn » April 3rd, 2010, 12:39 am

Tho he's a wannabe teen emo chick who once was a tough biker dude, he still pretty popular with a sick, off the hook mansion.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 3rd, 2010, 10:10 am

Once all the new illusions are in, I'm actually planning to go see Believe to check out whether Criss can actually do the live show he was always planning now that most of the Cirque stuff has been rightfully shoved aside.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Bystander » April 4th, 2010, 1:47 am

I might just actually hang around for that review.

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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby CharlieKab » April 4th, 2010, 8:05 pm

Hi Richard,
You had a re-occouring role on MindFreak Season 1 (and 2?). Were you fairly friendly with each other then? When's the last time you spoke? I wonder if he reads the forums or do his wranglers filter it for him...
CK

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 5th, 2010, 12:09 am

I met Criss when he called me about coming down to Orlando to watch the filming for the one-hour show on Sci-Fi called "Mindfreak" (no relation to the current series). That eventually became a Genii cover story, as did my trip to watch the filming of the first series of the show Mindfreak for A&E.

But I haven't spoken to him for years. He brooks no dissent.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Bystander » April 7th, 2010, 9:35 pm

City Walk. Throwin in down. One of my favorite places.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 7th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Throw it down somewhere else.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Bystander » April 7th, 2010, 10:10 pm

Thats not very nice. Bad day at the office hun?

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 7th, 2010, 10:25 pm

No, I'm having a fine day at the office. But this is a Forum that deals with the world of magic and magicians. Not Universal City Walk, or restaurants, or movies, or pretty much anything else unless it's related to magic in some way.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Eugene2 » April 16th, 2010, 1:05 pm

He said at start it was all new magic. Same old thing is all I hear.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Tom Frame » May 11th, 2010, 11:08 am

My wife Jan and her sister are in Vegas, staying at the crappy Luxor, which they adore for some inexplicable reason. Tonight she's going to see Believe. I have ever so gently, subtley encouraged her to write a review and post it here.

Jan has an informed, discerning eye regarding magical performances. She doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has not committed to writing the review, but I hope that she does. Stay tuned.

On May 29th, I'll be at the lovely Rio, playing in the World Series of Poker. Wish me luck.
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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 12th, 2010, 9:02 am

Here's hoping she's up for writing a review.

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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Tom Frame » May 16th, 2010, 3:07 pm

My wife graciously agreed to write the review. It was not what I expected. Here it is.


Hi Folks,


Believe , 5/11/2010


When planning our recent trip to Las Vegas, I gave my sister two choices of magic shows to see: Lance Burton or Criss Angel. I advised her that Lance would soon be leaving the Monte Carlo, maybe to leave Las Vegas forever, and this might be our last chance to see him perform outside of the state of Missouri.

She immediately said Oh, Criss Angel, of course.

Why?

So we can see how big a jackass he is for ourselves.

And so it was decided that we would spend two hours of our precious Las Vegas vacation, our time away from work and family to see Believe, the much maligned show that my magician husband Tom Frame had reported to me had received very poor reviews.

When I told Tom we had decided to see Criss, his face lit up.

Then you can tell me about the changes he made to the show. He just took out a bunch of dance numbers and added several illusions. Would you be willing to tell the guys on the Genii Forum about it?

So I agreed to tell you all about the new and hopefully improved production of Believe.

I admit freely that I am not going to give you an unbiased report of his show. I went in with a lot of prejudice about Mr. Angel. I have seen many episodes of MindFreak. I have seen the Criss Angel shop at the Luxor Casino. The leather, melodrama and extreme magic have always left me pretty cold.

I love most magic, seeing the impossible before my eyes. I love it when the laws of physics and logic slip away and for a brief moment anything is possible.

Since meeting my husband over fifteen years ago I have developed an appreciation for the effort involved in making something look impossible. I also decided about fourteen years ago that I prefer not knowing the secrets, the truth behind the lie. I like believing in magic. Its more fun that way.

Reality is common enough. Magic is special and I embrace it whenever I can. But after years of living with a magician I have learned a few things, whether I like it or not, about misdirection, bottom deals and trap doors.

And so it was with this good amount of prejudice and small amount of inside knowledge that I made my way to the Believe theatre.

Entering the Believe theatre from the Luxor Casino we turned a corner from the main lobby and began our entry into a nicely crafted alternate reality. Whimsical purple and pink colored light fixtures hung from the ceiling, providing dim illumination. There was the scent of roses, subtle at first, then stronger as we progressed towards the theatre.

After passing through a metal detector we turned another corner into the theatre itself, a large, dimly lit space with a mist hanging eerily in the air. A velvet crimson swag curtain with gold tassels covered the stage. There was a small opening in the curtains center that emitted a poof of dry-ice smoke every few minutes. The mist floated wraith-like upwards to the right before dissipating.

Surrounding the stage was a frame of stone with big gold rabbits wearing outfits reminiscent of the Alice in Wonderland rabbit (from the Disney movie) chained to their spot on either side of the stage. Low drums, a tune that sounded like it was being played on a childs piano, the ubiquitous, creepy Cirque du Soleil female operatic singing, the sounds of a child laughing and thunder all set the mood and welcomed us into Crisss magical realm. Joseph Campbell would be proud.

As we took our seats in the second row we were thrilled to see that we were in a great spot, right at the center of the stage. Having paid $176.00 a piece for our tickets I hoped we would have a great view, and I was not to be disappointed. After about fifteen minutes, I looked back to see that the theatre was three quarters full.

At 7 oclock sharp the show started with the entry of four Cirque du Soleil clowns/ushers/ assistants. They did some bad magic tricks (the torn and not restored newspaper was my favorite) and interacted with the audience in typical Cirque du Soleil fashion.

The head clown, Maestro, would stop every now and then, get a very excited look on his face, and shout Criss is coming!

A large stuffed white rabbit would pop out of the gap in the center of the curtain and the clowns would all chase after it.

Are you ready? was asked a few times. After the fourth or fifth time of being asked if we were ready, people in the audience were saying yes, they were ready, but there was still no Criss.

Finally when theyd whipped us into the right level of frenzied readiness, the Big Entry of Criss began in earnest. The curtain parted to reveal a stage-sized picture of Criss followed by a montage of all his best stuff from MindFreak: Criss walking on water, walking on spikes, hanging from a helicopter with hooks embedded in his back (yuck), adoring fans waxing exultant about his magical prowess, and finally, Criss levitating above the Luxor Pyramid bathed in the beam of light emiting from its apex.

As that image faded we looked up to see Criss himself descending like, you guessed it, an angel, from the ceiling. He landed onto the stage and welcomed us to the show. Wearing ripped jeans and a bandana low over his eyes, Criss looked very much the rock star. Brett Michaels, eat your heart out. I was impressed with how good looking he is. I know the guy is in his forties, but he has the body and more importantly, the skin of a man much younger.

He started the show by thanking a very pretty young lady in the front row for her gift of a very large banner with I love you Criss written on it and pictures of him and other images of his career and greatness.

Criss was very thankful. As he continued to thank this genuine fan for her generous gift, a woman with a hand-held camera stood next to him on the stage showing close-ups of all the images on the screen behind him so the whole audience could also appreciate the gift.

Then Criss had a spontaneous idea. He would use his gift in an illusion. So with the help of the clown Maestro, he lifted the just-right sized banner up over his head and poof, gave us the first of many of what I call a switcheroo illusion where the magician switches from one place, one person, one creature to another location, person, etc. The woman sitting next to me was delighted.

That was real magic!, she shouted to no one in particular.

Other switcheroos included Criss turning from a dummy into himself inside a cool contraption that he was locked into; from a puppet into Criss; from Criss into a monster (the Criss double used in that effect needs a new wig to help the folks in front not catch on that something tricky is going on); from the clown Maestro into himself; moving a pretty lady from a chair to a box; and moving himself from the top of a 16 foot high platform to the far left side of the stage.

My favorite was his Metamorphosis that used pyrotechnics and flames as the curtain and was scary fast.

After his first switcheroo Criss did a prediction effect where he threw his wristband into the audience, got the name of the guy who picked it up off the floor (after a long time of looking), had him toss it to another person, asked her the name of her home state, then had her give it to another person who was asked what her favorite number was. A chained metal chest suspended from the ceiling was lowered to reveal a sealed jar with the name, state and number correctly written in very legible, large writing.

The effect of bringing a painting to life with a woman pushing through the canvas was very theatrical and a nice way to introduce the beautiful Kayala, who was used in subsequent effects.

Criss, to my surprise, did a dove act. My sister heard the distinctive rip of Velcro at one point, and now knows something she shouldnt. The cape Criss wore was kind of lumpy. But the culmination of the dove act was really beautiful. A large number of doves flew en masse from the back of the stage over the heads of the audience to the very back of the theatre into a light. This image that made me think of souls going into the Light. It was probably my favorite moment of the whole show.

I also really liked Crisss effect of walking vertically down the back of the stage. His use of the image of a groom coming to his bride was both romantic and exciting. The lighting, music, Criss looking like Rapunzels prince coming to her in reverse was most effective.

I wasnt as fond of the levitation of his bride (sans wedding gown, naturally), even though his use of music, lighting and water was nice. As Criss and the floating Kayala moved forward on the stage it appeared as if they were connected and Criss was pushing her with his body.

Crisss take on the classic sawing a woman in two started with swinging the very large circular saw out from the edge of the stage over the heads of the audience in the first few rows. Scary! I knew it wouldnt hurt me, but there are some images that the brain responds to. I admit it, I ducked.

Then in a classic display of misogyny a struggling, angry woman was strapped onto a platform and sawn into two blood-spurting halves. I cheered loudly. What can I say, I was an Alice Cooper fan as a kid.

My sister, on the other hand, chastised Criss with a loud Thats disgusting! that he actually heard, and laughed when he heard it. He even told the audience what she had said, and with great delight talked about how sick we all are that we enjoy watching someone die in front of us. He then asked for applicants for a short-term job available for the 9:30 show.

There were two dance numbers in the show, a dance of the angry rabbits killed in the service of magic, and a tribute to Halloween. Both had interesting, creepy costumes and acrobatic Cirque du Soleil style dancing. I am very glad there were only two dance numbers. The dances were obviously remnants of the original production, and seemed out of place.

Throughout the show Crisss interaction with the audience was easy, friendly and inclusive. He was really funny with the fifteen year old he brought up on stage for a switcheroo effect, teasing him of course, but very gently and without any intent to embarrass the kid. I wondered if the kid was a stooge, the interaction went so well.

His stage persona was the biggest surprise (besides the dove act) of the whole show for me. Criss Angel is a nice guy (on stage, anyway), even sweet? Get out! He is willing to poke fun at himself and let the clowns make serious fun at his expense? For real?

There was a moment at the end of the show that was a little off-putting. Criss told the audience to get up and start rocking out to the music. You know, clap our hands and become the young, hip audience that we were so obviously not. There were a couple people in my row that performed their own act of magic simply by squeezing into their seats.

But up we lumbered and started to clap obediently, if a little out of rhythm. Then Criss told us we needed to stay standing until the end of the show. Uh, really? We needed to be told how to be a good audience?

As he gave us our marching orders I saw a dark look flash across Crisss face. Was it annoyance, perhaps, that we had to be told to get off our butts and display our enjoyment of the show in proper fashion? Disappointment that we werent all twenty-somethings with tats and fake boobs? Fatigue at having to do this act over and over and over? Or maybe the lights got in his eyes.

After the cast took their bows at the end of the show, Criss thanked us all, his warmth restored.

The show was over at 8:30 on the nose, and while we waited for our turn to make it up the stairs and out of the theatre, I walked up to the stage for a closer look. A woman who had been seated next to my sister came up beside me.

See any traps?, I asked her.

She squinted at the stage and shook her head.

Wasnt that the best show? she asked me. She was euphoric and had obviously had a great time.

And so had I. I had been thoroughly entertained by this show, magic goofs and all. I had developed a new opinion of Criss Angel that, to be honest, surprised the hell out of me. I had the desire to get to know him better, maybe find out his secret for such great looking skin. I will, if given the chance, go see Believe again.

As we exited the theatre I asked my sister what she thought.

Well, it wasnt what I thought it would be. He was funnier, nerdier, and more endearing than I thought hed be. Whats with the Velcro?


Jan Coddington Frame
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby Steve Hook » May 16th, 2010, 4:22 pm

Thanks, Jan. You are an excellent writer.

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Re: Criss Angel Believe

Postby flynn » June 13th, 2010, 10:04 pm

A friend of mine went to Vegas this past week and went to see Criss Angel's Beleive. She's a laymen, nurse, mid twenty early thirty and she was pretty impressed to say the least with the show. I asked her how much the tickets were she said "it was fifty dollars and worth it I wish I could see it again". She mentioned also the place was sold out on a Tuesday. I take that as 95% percent or more to full capacity. She thought it was cool and entertaining and was most impressed with the tranpo from the suspended cage saying "That was pretty awesome how he was suspended way up in the air in a cage and in an instant was down below on the stage". I took it that was her favorite effect as she metioned it twice how much she liked that effect. She was still in amazement I could tell from going to that show. Sometimes I wish I was a layman still lol.


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