Criss Angel, creator and star of A&Es popular CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK , was named 2005 Magician of the Year by The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) at a press event at Hollywoods Magic Castle ( Review: Magic Castle). We had the opportunity to attend the event and talk with Milt Larson, co-founder of the Magic Castle; Dale Hindman, president of the AMA; Irene Larson, co-founder of the Castle and Gay Blackstone, vice president of the AMA, and even Angel himself, which will form the basis of an upcoming, stand-alone story.
"Criss Angel is going to be a huge superstar in the world of magic," said Dale Hindman. "I predict that he will eclipse David Copperfield at some point because he is brilliant, he cares about magic and is willing to think outside the box. According to Hindman, Angel is appealing to a youthful crowd, which has resulted in younger visitors at the Magic Castle. "He's the only guy who is out there on A&E, with huge ratings and is known...he's the logical choice," added Hindman.
"He is the most important person in magic this side of Doug Henning," said Milt Larson. Criss is presenting a new and different form of magic. Hes definitely bringing it into the future and I cant think of anybody whos doing it better.
"Doug Henning and Sigfreid & Roy were forerunners, but Criss is now," said Irene Larson. Criss Angel has elevated the art of magic to new heights. According to Irene Larson, Angel is successfully bringing the fun and wonder of magic to a new, younger generation.
Gay Blackstone told us that she has known Angel since he was eleven-years-old, and that he still owns the poster that was signed by her late, legendary husband, Harry Blackstone, Jr. "He is now the leading edge and the epitomy of magic, said Blackstone. We try to advance the art and the science of magic and he was the absolute perfect choice this year." According to Blackstone, Angel is good for all of magic and all of entertainment and is responsible for broadening A&Es demographics.
The event featured a short performance by The Mums, who juggled blades over a prone and courageous Dale Hindman, undoubtedly a preview of the upcoming Its Magic! show that will run in late October in Hollywoods Ricardo Montalban Theater and will feature Angel. The crowd also viewed the latest MINDFREAK episode, entitled Prediction (Click here for a review of the show), much of which was shot at the Magic Castle.
The Board of Directors and the members of the Academy of Magical Arts annually honor the best and brightest magicians. Past award winners include Harry Blackstone Jr., Harry Anderson, Lance Burton, David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Penn & Teller and Siegfried & Roy.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto