Criss Angel levitates—and elevates—the art of magic
Call him a freak. Dude doesn’t mind. When your show is titled Mindfreak Live!, you can’t mind the “freak” label, can ya? Besides, his freakiness is by design.
“I wanted to create the ultimate magic experience, to embrace technology that no Vegas show up to this point has,” prestidigitation practitioner Criss Angel told Las Vegas Magazine recently. “A lot of the technologies I employ in the show are not even available yet to the public. For me it was about creating a journey, the magic of emotion that would connect people and take them on a roller coaster ride. Some of it would be scary, some of it creepy, some of it funny, might even make you shed a tear, but I wanted to give people tons of revolutionary magic.”
And indeed, Angel gets his freak on in this witches’ brew of magical antics—more than 50 in 85 minutes. Elaborately conceived and rife with pyrotechnics, laser explosions, 3-D effects, animation, virtual worlds and a live soundtrack, the production pinballs frenetically. Illusionary highlights include sawing a woman in half (but declining to reassemble her), a straitjacket escape, disappearing (and reappearing in the crowd), and a levitation stunt in which the goth-glossed performer levitates above a ladder, across the stage and inside a metal sphere.
How does he do it? It’s a huge mystery. And yet the biggest mystery may be the man inside the magical veneer. In an attempt to crack that one, we gathered up some choice Angel nuggets uttered in recent years to various media outlets to probe the psyche of the often enigmatic entertainer:
“Magic speaks to the child in all of us. No matter how sophisticated we become, there’s still a part of us who wants to believe in an alternative reality, where we can defy the laws of nature.” ... Actually, the 2016 election already accomplished that.
“Pain is a beautiful thing. When you feel pain you know you’re alive.” ... Call me a wuss, but I’ll just check my pulse.
“People fear so many things and they don’t live life to its fullest. For me as an artist, if God should want me to do something this Wednesday to end my life, so be it.” ... You’ve got a show Wednesday, Criss. Raincheck? (Relax—he knows we’re joking).
“I have mentally overcome situations most of you would be terrified to ever attempt: heights, fire, needles, spiders, snakes, angry monkeys, being shot, being hit by a car, going blind.” ... Yeah, those angry monkeys are a daily annoyance.
“For me, it’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. I love creating.” ... Fine, send me the first two. I’ll pay shipping fees.
“Sometimes my art is just an illusion. Or is it?” ... No, it isn’t. Except it is. And just like that, logic is restored to its illogical logic.
“I like to say magic is the world’s second oldest profession.” ... Done correctly, there’s something magical about the first oldest one, as well.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care what people say.” ... We think you’re the bee’s knees. So we’re guessing there are exceptions to that, huh, buddy?
Luxor, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., 7 p.m. show only Jan. 1 & 4-6, starting at $59 plus tax and fee. 702.262.4400