The Sarasota Post Interview with Mindfreak Magician Criss Angel
Criss Angel is a rock star magician! He fronted a band called “Angel” in the late 80’s but his passion for magic took him in another direction and lucky for us it did! He is certainly the most popular magician in the last decade.
His television show, “Mindfreak”, ran for years and his numerous headlining shows have broken Vegas records! Currently, he is headed to Clearwater on Friday to bring his show, “Criss Angel RAW – The Mindfreak Unplugged”, to Ruth Eckerd Hall on a smaller, more intimate scale. He talked to us about everything that is happening with him both personally and professionally.
SP: First of all, I think we would all like to know how Johnny Crisstopher and your family are doing with the latest diagnosis. Is your family on the road with you?
CA: We have recently had confirmation that Johnny Crisstopher has relapsed with all (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). While we are devastated by this unexpected news, we believe that he will be in remission again soon. He is an amazingly strong little boy, and with the support of family, friends, and my loyal fans we look forward to the day he is again in remission.
This setback only continues my commitment to raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment. I am working on a huge event for next year in support of our foundation, the Johnny Crisstopher Children’s Charitable Foundation, and will announce more details about it as things are confirmed, but fans can find updates and donate at crissangelhelp.com
My goal – and the reason I’ve been successful beyond my wildest dreams – is to be a voice for these children who don’t have a voice; to raise awareness and to try to raise enough money so that one day we can make pediatric cancer disappear.
My family is at home in Las Vegas, focusing on Johnny Crisstopher’s treatment.
SP: How has Cure4TheKids helped your family?
CA: Johnny Crisstopher is currently undergoing treatment at both Summerlin Hospital and Cure4The Kids foundation with Dr. Alan Ikeda. Cure4TheKids is a fantastic organization and facility, and I am honored to have supported them in the past – as they now support us.
We recently unveiled a Criss Angel-themed patient exam room that draws inspiration from Mindfreak at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The colorful and one-of-a-kind illustrations in the room are intended to entertain and inspire those being treated at the facility.
SP:What have you learned about magic from studying Houdini? Has magic changed much from Houdini’s time?
CA: Houdini was an innovator in his time, and I’ve been inspired by him (and a few others) over my career. Magic has changed a lot since then, and I am constantly working on how to create new experiences for my audience.
A big part of magic for me is about connecting to people on an emotional level; about the magic of emotion. I always want to create something that is unique, original, revolutionary and something that really has the most important component — which magic typically doesn’t have — and that’s some type of connection to the audience on an emotional level. That’s been that ongoing process to figure out how to do that since I was a kid to show that if I can be so blessed to accomplish my dreams, anyone can.
SP:You had a band “Angel” back in the day, do you still play music? Would you consider doing a band or recording as a side project?
CA: Ha! Probably not, although I am always working on music and musical arrangements for my live shows. It’s a big part of the creative and I spend a lot of time focusing on how it combines with the technology and illusions in the shows to create a completely immersive experience for the audience.
SP: You have a brand new show MINDFREAK in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood and you have been playing Vegas for years now. What’s new about this show and how do you keep it fresh for yourself?
CA: My show at Planet Hollywood is the first fully immersive spectacle that Vegas has ever seen. There’s more lights, more video. It is the most technologically advanced show in entertainment history.
To keep it fresh, I try to focus on being creative and coming up with new things that challenge me – not looking over my shoulder. It’s hard to make it to the top of any field, but it’s harder to remain there. I am constantly working on how to do things in a way they have never been done before.
I have a 60,000-square-foot – I call it a laboratory – studio. In that studio, I have full wood and metal fabrication shops, a staging area, a 60-foot green screen, a graphics department and editors – so I’m constantly developing new material. I have the infrastructure and I love creating. That’s what I love the most, creating, whether it’s a video, an illusion or a theatrical performance, that’s what I’m into. When I can’t create or come up with something interesting or engaging, that’s when I’ll retire. I have four shows, and I have so much material because I’m always creating. I don’t do the same things. If someone saw me perform and they come back and see me again, they’re going to see new things constantly.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Vegas to experience Criss and his phenomenal show, you can catch it right here at Ruth Eckerd on Friday night. Ticket prices are $48 – $103 and there are a small number of VIP’s available to meet Criss. All info at Ruth Eckerd Hall website.
Photos courtesy of Ruth Eckerd Hall and Criss Angel Instagram.