Tag Archives: illusionists

Criss Angel Wins “Magician of the Century” Award

Las Vegas magician and illusionist and Luxor headliner Criss Angel has won the “Magician of the Century” award, which was presented to him after Angel’s second “Believe” show this Tuesday by Tony Hassini, founder of the International Magicians Society. 

Hassini was at the center of a controversy last year when questions arose after his society reportedly honored three different female magicians as the top female magicians of the year for 2008, including former Las Vegas headliner “Scarlett — Princess of Magic.”

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Mum’s the Word for Disappearing Las Vegas Magician Lance Burton

As previously reported by Las Vegas Backstage Access, the Monte Carlo magician has indeed called it quits after headlining and performing about 15,000 Las Vegas shows for the last 14 years.   Lance Burton will close his Monte Carlo run in Las Vegas on Sept. 4. 

Burton reports that the decision to leave was his, though he remains guarded and vague when it comes to providing specific reasons for his departure.  

“About three ago I had a moment of clarity when it just all became clear to me that I’m not on the same page as the hotel,” Burton said, adding, he doesn’t plan to badmouth the hotel where he spent at least a third of his career and has a deep emotional connection. 

Some say that Burton and MGM Mirage officials were at odds over budgeting and cost-cutting issues, but, Burton says, that’s not the primary reason he gave notice.

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Las Vegas Illusionist Criss Angel Plans Revolting Trick

Luxor headliner Criss Angel is up to what many would say is a callous, dirty trick.   Courting controversy once again, this time it’s for a stunt that’s likely to shock, if not offend, many U.S. troops and their families. 

Angel, the star of Cirque du Soleil’s “Criss Angel Believe” playing at the Luxor in Las Vegas, plans to open Season 5 of his “Mindfreak” on A&E television August 12 by walking over numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when filming the episode at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  

IEDs are deployed as roadside bombs in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, responsible for tragically killing thousands of servicemen and civilians. 

Angel says the stunt will be more dangerous than anything he’s ever performed; entailing him to tread gently over not one, but seven levels of the lethal, explosive mines. 

Critics are revolting, not sympathetic with Angel, blasting comments ranging from “just plaint tacky” to saying that if his psychic powers are that great that he’d be more useful in combat zones saving lives.

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Criss Angel Receives Good News: Awarded “Magician of the Decade”

crissangelFor a change, good news showers down on Las Vegas illusionist Criss Angel.  The International Magicians Society has awarded the 41-year-old Angel, whose real name is Christopher Sarantakos, its first-ever Merlin Award for “Magician of the Decade” last Saturday in honor of his magical accomplishments. Angel previously received the organization’s “Magician of the Year” honor in 2001, 204, 2005, 2007 and 2008. 

The famed illusionist appeared humble when accepting the award, telling those attending, “I never set out to win awards, just to push my own envelope and try to create something that’s never been done.”

Criss Angel’s “Believe” illusion show opened at the Luxor in Las Vegas early in January to mixed reviews and almost immediately went dark for a Cirque du Soleil “magical” revamping before reopening later in the month.

To add to Angel’s mishaps, in late February, Angel broke up with his girlfriend, Holly Madison, who previously had been dating Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner until last October.

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Illusionists Siegfried & Roy – & Career-Ending White Bengal Tiger -Take Final Las Vegas Curtain Call

Future performances from iconic Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried and Roy – and the white Bengal tiger that ended their prior careers – are, sadly, over.  siegfried

For their last hurrah the trio shared the stage on February 28 at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for their haunting final performance for the 13th annual “Power of Love” gala benefit for the Keep Memory Alive organization, proceeds going to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. 

Hosted by Robin Leach, in the audience were Teri Hatcher, Leeza Gibbons, Hilary Duff, Danny DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman, comic actor (and former Riviera entertainment director) Steve Schirripa, Muhammed Ali, Kristin Davis, and Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Ferrell.

The gala began by feasting on mouth-watering cuisine from chef’s Todd English, Wolfgang Puck, David Robins, Martin Heierling, and Jean-Philippe Maury. 

Then the abbreviated charity show saw Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher side by side with Montecore, the massive white tiger that brutally mauled Horn during a 2003 performance.

Horn re-emerged Saturday dressed in a Gothic-style black-and-white robe, his face covered with a skeletal mask. The dark stage was covered in smoke.  Horn limped slowly onstage, often steadying himself on Fischbacher’s shoulder.

The two slowly performed a signature illusion as Fischbacher, dressed in white robes and a mask, stood inside a cage, which was cloaked in drapes.  As Horn removed the curtain seconds later, Fischbacher appeared across stage, a hulking white Bengal tiger in his place- it was Montecore.

As the crowd took to its feet, the men removed their masks and Fischbacher was standing between Montecore and Horn. They waved and blew kisses at the audience, but said nothing.

An announcer left the crowd with this final thought: “Within all of us there is an illusive melody, which when heard and followed will lead you to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams.”

On October 3, 2003, Montecore sank its teeth deep into Horn’s neck, dragging him offstage in front of a horrified audience. The illusionist, now 64, was partially paralyzed, suffering a damaged neck artery and crushed windpipe. 

After 13 years and more than 5,000 performances, the “Siegfried & Roy” show at The Mirage immediately went dark, ending one of the most successful shows in Las Vegas history.

During Horn’s long rehabilitation, though, both men remained devoted to their exotic habitat on the Las Vegas Strip. The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage hotel-casino houses lions, tigers and leopards. Fischbacher, 69, has called it Horn’s “reason to get up in the morning.”

The benefactor for the event, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, will treat brain disorders like those Horn now suffers, is set to open later this year in a building designed by architect Frank Gehry.

An estimated $12 million was raised by the event for the Ruvo center, punctuated by  a $450,000 bid on a Rolls-Royce trimmed with the Keep Memory Alive logo, and a $5 million donation by Chuck Mathewson, CEO emeritus of IGT.   Steve and Elaine Wynn donated another $1 million.

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