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Criss Angel is once again ready to freak you out. The new season of his show ‘MindFreak’ is set to begin it’s 3rd season on A&E following an elaborate stunt in NYC. Unlike the magicians of the past Criss has joined the ranks of performers like Penn & Teller to showcase the art form of magic. There’s less interest in being secretive and far more in giving people what they want to see. Mainly some “holy shit” moments that can be talked about long after he leaves the room. Criss’ candor with his fans about what he does is a big part of the appeal. It’s inspiring to fans of the art form to see someone with passion share his innermost trickery, and still leaves you in awe.
This Monday morning Criss is going to enter a case that is 4’ in diameter, which will then be filled with concrete and hung four stories above Times Square. This isn’t a trick, well not exactly. What Angel is attempting is to hearken back to the days of Houdini. Houdini was less a magician and more an escape artist. The event in NYC is a promotion for the new season of ‘MindFreak,’ but it’s also a way for Angel to show his fans exactly what he does in order to escape. ”When Houdini escaped out of a straightjacket he didn’t hide the method,” Angel said during a conference call with TV Blend, ”He showed the world how he escaped, and people were engaged by his technique." Unlike David Blaine, who Criss has been compared to by random observers, there is an escape attempt being made.
So what makes Criss any different than your average magician at a kid’s party? The most surprising thing about what the man does is his inspiration. He truly wants to bring magic out of the world of parlor tricks and return it to the art form it formally was. When Criss hung himself by four hooks from a helicopter it wasn’t about grossing the viewer out. It may seem extreme to us average Joes, but he truly believes that these acts can inspire people. I for one am inspired to never hang myself by fishhooks, but more than that the art of magic is meant to show people that what seems impossible can become possible. You simply have to set your mind to whatever task it might be that faces you. Whether it’s pulling yourself out of the unemployment line or encasing yourself in 6,000 lbs of concrete, if you decide to do something then the only thing stopping you is fear. Magic in its purest form is a way to showcase that desire to do something great.
If you’re currently a fan of his show ‘MindFreak’ then you probably know what to expect as the new season begins. For those who don’t know, Criss shared with us some of the tricks we’ll see that he’s proud of. In the premiere episode Dog the Bounty Hunter challenges Criss. ”He tied me up to a chair with a hundred feet of rope, Criss said about his encounter with the worlds most famous bounty hunter, ”Then [threw me] into a body of water and see if I can escape before my lungs run out of air.” I won’t ruin what happens, but Criss indicates that he’ll have the chance to redeem himself. Criss is also planning to perform another levitation trick, this time in the lights of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas while 250,000 tourists wander around below him. The Luxor is one of two man made objects that can be seen from space, and the brilliant light from it will illuminate the illusionist as he floats 500 ft in the air for us all to see. I’m confident he’ll pull it off, but imagine the repercussions if he should fall onto a structure with such a pointy tip.
Aside from his television show Criss has put out a DVD of how he does his magic entitled Master Mind Freaks and the more advanced Master Minds. In them he reveals how he does the tricks we see on the show. “The trick doesn’t make the magician, the magician makes the trick,” Criss explained when asked why he chooses to reveal his secrets. ”I just don’t think magic garners the respect it deserves. It’s kind of like a cheap hokey novelty, and it’s about up to this point shoving girls in leotards and boxes. I just think magic is so much more than that. It’s a beautiful art form that needs to be presented in a provocative popular culture way…I just want magic to garner the respect it deserves.” Criss hopes that by revealing some tricks an enthusiast will have an ice breaker, or a kid who may be interested in going professional will have somewhere to turn that appeals to their sensibilities.
Season 3 of ‘Mindfreak’ premieres Tuesday, June 5th at 10:00 p.m. EST on the A&E network. The one-hour premiere will feature the astonishing levitation above the Luxor Hotel and Casino, as well as a glimpse into Criss’ upcoming Cirque du Soleil show, which is planned to begin in 2008. ‘MindFreak’ has become a hit for the cable network; with the first two seasons’ DVD sets being the best selling of all A&E’s shows. To have your mind thoroughly freaked tune in to the one hour premiere this coming Tuesday. A live streaming webcast of the Times Square stunt will be available at A&E’s website.