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Updated: February 23, 2010 19:02 IST

Levitating the art

NEETI SARKAR
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ACCOMPLISHED Criss is versatile
ACCOMPLISHED Criss is versatile

Magician Criss Angel says there's reality in all his acts of illusion

Ask a six-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up and you're bound to hear him say he wants to be a pilot, a doctor, or since this is India, maybe a cricketer. But if he said he wanted to be a magician, one would just laugh his answer off in a trice.

However, world renowned magician and illusionist Criss Angel, who has created, produced, directed and starred in one of television's most popular series “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” has made sure he's living out his childhood dream.

The innumerable accolades he's won for his magic performances speak for themselves.

He was named Magician of the Year five times, making him the first five-time, back-to-back recipient of this award. He was also unanimously selected as the recipient of the 22nd Louie Award for outstanding achievement in the art of magic.

All geared up for the 5th season of his show, Criss reveals what his fans could expect. “Our fifth season will be the most exciting season to date. Unlike past seasons we are doing five one-hour specials, each of which will include a death-defying illusion never attempted by me or anyone else. In this season, I'm going to try to push my limits in a way I have never attempted before, from being buried alive under thousands of pounds of ice and snow in freezing cold temperatures, to risking my life in a minefield. During one of the episodes I will even attempt to levitate everyone at home watching through their televisions. I think you will all be on the edge of your seats,” he says.

Another thing to watch out for in the upcoming season of Mindfreak is one set of tricks Criss will perform that can be safely tried at home.

Whether it is walking on the water, or vaulting from one terrace to another, most of his acts look real. And the percentage of realism in his performances? Criss says: “Every illusion I perform combines elements of both reality and illusion. I'd like to leave it up to each viewer to decide what part is real and what part is illusion but every illusion I perform has an element of reality to it.”

The world renowned magician has his own list of favourite magicians. Criss first got hooked to magic when his aunt Stella performed a card trick for him when he was only a kid. But he pontificates: “I've had many influences throughout my career, many of whom come from the music and film worlds but the two magicians who have had the biggest influence on me were Houdini and Richiardi.”

Ask him if he plans to visit India where he has a super huge fan following and Criss says: “I would love to travel to India. Unfortunately, my show schedule in Las Vegas precludes me from making such a trip at the moment. However, I am in the process of putting together a ‘Mindfreak' touring show that will feature many of the cast members of my TV show and I will be participating in as well.”

Magic apart, Criss is a versatile artiste. He is an accomplished musician having produced and performed on five self-titled CDs.

Harper Collins released Criss' first book, “Criss Angel Mindfreak: Secret Revelations” in April 2007. His book made it to the LA Times bestseller list.

Mindfreak, in its 5th season since last week, is aired every Wednesday at 9 p.m. on AXN.

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