Las Vegas Sun

March 24, 2019

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Criss Angel: ‘Life is death without change’; talks second Houdini escape

Criss Angel-Randy Couture-Spike TV-‘Believe’

Spike TV

Randy Couture puts Criss Angel in a choke hold on Angel’s Spike TV series “Believe.”

Criss Angel in Times Square for Spike TV

Criss Angel in Times Square in New York for his Spike TV series “Believe.” Launch slideshow »

The first time Criss Angel attempted the Houdini escape, he almost broke his body in two —he certainly ripped it apart.

Now despite months of surgery and rehabilitation, the “Mindfreak” magician is going to challenge fate again and repeat the act of “near insanity.”

The Cirque du Soleil “Believe” at the Luxor star admits that it’s a calculated risk. The 24-hour countdown began today, and Criss is ready to be hung upside down Tuesday in a straight-jacket chained to a 50-pound weight around his neck at Foxwoods casino in Connecticut.

He trained with legendary UFC champion Randy Couture for the previous attempt. After a tough workout and conditioning program Sunday, I talked with Criss, who is at Foxwoods where he will premiere six performances of his new “Mindfreak” touring show this weekend.

It’s the first time since he began “Believe” six years ago on the Strip that he’s left town for engagements.

“Mindfreak Live” is based on his A&E hit series “Mindfreak” that ran from 2005-2010 with 96 episodes in more than 100 countries. His second touring show “The Supernaturalists” will premiere there next June for a three-week run before its national and world tour.

Ticket demand is so strong that he’s signed on to return for six more “Mindfreak” shows there in January. Felix Rappaport, who is the COO of Foxwoods, was formerly the president of the Luxor when he signed Criss and the Cirque du Soleil show.

I reminded Criss that he sustained three serious shoulder tears and muscle damage when he performed the stunt in Times Square and wound up on the operating table.

How do you prevent any more shoulder problems?

By being smarter, more diligent and better prepared since going through the worst case scenario — aside from going unconscious or falling. But ultimately it’s a calculated risk.

What do you fear? What safety precautions will be in place?

Failure. There are no more safety precautions outside of what was employed the first time I attempted it.

How is your mental/physical approach to the escape?

I am completely and utterly focused, and in the moment I visualize over and over again what it should look like in my head before I attempt it. If something should happen to change that plan, I make the necessary adjustments. Life is death without change.

I’m so honored to have this opportunity and want to sincerely thank Cirque du Soleil, Luxor and Foxwoods for making this possible. These outreach shows I’m doing are designed to promote “Believe,” still ‘The only A+ magic show in Vegas” and the incredible experience that awaits for guests at the Luxor.

So everybody wins, but the public most of all, because no other Las Vegas show is offering up the value we have in store for the public in our outreach program.

* * *

We’ll have a report at Vegas DeLuxe on Tuesday moments after the escape stunt and photos on Wednesday.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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