Wednesday, July 26, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Doing 10 shows a week in your own theater on the Las Vegas Strip leaves precious little time for quick trips to Los Angeles, but Criss Angel was able to carve out a few hours last week — to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 20. I caught up with the star illusionist of Criss Angel: Mindfreak Live at the Luxor the day after the most prestigious of entertainment honors to talk about how important and surreal that experience was, as well as to check in on his future plans in Las Vegas and beyond.
Of all the awards and recognition and achievements you’ve amassed in your long career, where does this one rank? No. 1. Because if you think about the magnitude of what it means, there are 2,614 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and if you think about all the incredible actors and entertainers from the small screen and the big screen and the stage, all the little novelty acts and all the plain incredible artists in the entire entertainment landscape, that’s not a lot of people. To think that I’m 2,615 is really pretty remarkable. It’s such an honor to have that bestowed upon you.
And the fact magic is such a micro-speck of sand in the huge beach of entertainment, to have the rest of the entertainment world show that kind of respect for what I do is the greatest compliment. When it becomes commercialized in pop culture to the extent of getting this recognition, it’s a pretty big thing for magic overall and really celebrates the magical arts and how it connects to people. That’s what Houdini personified, and that’s why he has a star.
And Houdini’s star is right across the street from yours. Does that add to the meaningfulness? Yeah, it’s mind-blowing. He’s right across the street on the main boulevard, and I’m right next to the [Hollywood] Roosevelt Hotel that has housed a lot of séances on the roof and the 10-year vigil after he died. I never dreamt of anything like this; it’s really pretty remarkable and I’m very grateful.
You flew out Wednesday night, did the ceremony and the whole thing on Thursday and then came right back to Vegas to do your show. Are you going to return soon to visit your star for some quiet reflection? It was hard to find a moment to take it in a real way. I was so overwhelmed … so many incredible Las Vegas entertainers got on a plane to be there for me and it was such a beautiful thing. To reflect on it in a more intimate way was impossible, but it was almost surreal. When you work so hard for so many years — I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, so it took me 18 years to become an overnight success — then have one moment like this, you can’t really describe in words how it overwhelms with emotion.
In Vegas, you remade your show into Mindfreak Live a little over a year ago and it continues to be very popular. What’s the next move for you? We’re very blessed to have the best-selling magic show on the planet, an incredibly well-received show that really connects with people on an emotional level. My current contract expires Oct. 31 next year, and I will have completed 10 years. I have a lot of different, exciting opportunities. In September I’ll be [performing] in Buenos Aires for a week, and in November and December I go back to my second home at Foxwoods [Resort Casino in Connecticut] to perform. We’ll see what happens. I do about 450 shows a year between touring and the Luxor, and based on the success of the show [in Vegas], I have a lot of opportunities now.
Do you want to stay in Las Vegas, at the Luxor or somewhere else, or with this show or a different production? I want to take the show to the next level, whether I move or stay at the Luxor or go to another casino or take it on the road. At this point, I don’t know. We’ll have to see. I’m vetting the different possibilities to try to see what makes the most sense for my career. I’m at the point now where I can choose what I want to do.