FOR MY

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per­form­ers. This Hal­loween he’ll be back on A&E with an hour­long spe­cial. In the U.S., “the TV shows drive peo­ple to the Las Ve­gas shows and sell the mer­chan­dise,” he says.

An­gel man­ages the TV ven­tures, stage shows, and mer­chan­dis­ing—an­gel Inc., or as it’s of­fi­cially known, An­gel Pro­duc­tions World­wide—on three to four hours of sleep a night. He gets help from his brother, Costa; Dim­i­tra, 81, a Greek im­mi­grant, lives with him part- time. He cred­its his busi­ness acu­men to his late fa­ther, John, who op­er­ated cof­fee shops on Long Is­land, N.Y., where An­gel grew up. For ex­am­ple, rather than li­cense his sig­na­ture magic kits to a toy com­pany, he out­sources man­u­fac­tur­ing to China and sells them, along with T-shirts and DVDS, from his own ware­house. Since 2005 he’s sold more than $35 mil­lion in magic kits alone. He over­sees de­tails as mi­nor as the price of fix­ing a strait­jacket used on­stage, hit­ting the roof when he learns it will cost $250, twice the price of a new one.

The per­former speaks lov­ingly and of­ten about his 2-year-old son, Johnny Cris­sto­pher, who has leukemia, now in re­mis­sion. The boy lives in Aus­tralia with his mother, Shaunyl Ben­son, from whom An­gel is es­tranged. De­spite an earnest fam­ily devo­tion, An­gel of­ten gen­er­ates Tmz-wor­thy gos­sip in his per­sonal life. Over the years he’s dated ac­tresses Cameron Diaz and Min­nie Driver and pop singer Brit­ney Spears, as well as ex- Play­boy bunny and re­al­ity-tv star Holly Madi­son.

An­gel’s ven­tures don’t nec­es­sar­ily win him fans among ri­vals and afi­ciona­dos. Penn Jil­lette, the tall, talk­a­tive mem­ber of the Penn & Teller duo, once told a ra­dio in­ter­viewer: “Criss An­gel does tricks on TV, which means he’s not in the cat­e­gory of David Cop­per­field. He’s in the cat­e­gory of Sa­man­tha Stephens on Be­witched.” Mike Caveney, a magic his­to­rian in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia who co-au­thored the book Magic: 1400s-1950s, says, “Criss An­gel has done more to harm and dam­age magic than any other per­son I can think of. The stuff he does on tele­vi­sion and the In­ter­net—walk up the side of a build­ing, walk across the swim­ming pool—is just silly, and it gen­er­ates cyn­i­cism about the art.”

One re­cent morn­ing, An­gel leads a tour of the 60,000-square­foot fac­tory where his team of en­gi­neers and welders are build­ing the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar in­fra­struc­ture for Mind­f­reak Live! Al­though it con­tin­ues his fran­chise, “it’s a brand-new ap­proach to ev­ery­thing I do,” he says, show­ing off a mas­sive buzz-saw con­trap­tion. Some might ar­gue that the clas­sic saw­ing in two of a comely as­sis­tant is a tired stunt, but An­gel says his ver­sion will be more re­al­is­tic-look­ing and shock­ing. The show is sched­uled to run for the fi­nal three years of his 10-year con­tract with MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional, the Luxor’s owner, and Cirque. This sum­mer he’s sched­uled to do a dozen per­for­mances in Dubai, un­der a con­tract that he says cov­ers all his ex­penses and pays him $2 mil­lion. “There will al­ways be crit­ics,” he says, “but I’m prov­ing that my per­for­mances ap­peal to the widest pos­si­ble au­di­ences, not just in Ve­gas but around the coun­try and the world. I want to own the magic space.” <BW>

What makes makesabeer­a beer sour? To get tech­ni­cal for a se­cond, micro­organ­isms— specif­i­cally speci­fi­fif­i­cally the bac­terium bac­teri­um­lac­to­bacil­lus lac­to­bacil­lus and andthe the wild yeasts pe­dio­coc­cu­sand­pe­dio­coc­cus and bret­tanomyces. Some­soursSome sours are aged­with­frui­tand­takeaged with fruit and take onit­son its fla­vors, aswellasas well as that acid­ity, and and­many many are aged for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. All the­se­vari­ables­makethese vari­ables make for beers thataretha­t are dif­fi­cult dif­fi­cul­tand­ex­pen­sive­and ex­pen­sive to pro­duce and and­to­tally to­tally weird(weird (inin a good way).

Have Haveasipa sip of one, andy­oumight­be­and you might be taken aback: ““Tart”Tart” doesn’t usu­ally make the list of tra­di­tional beer de­scrip­tors, and the­flflfla­vorthe fla­vor can be­un­fa­mil­iar,be un­fa­mil­iar, evenofffff­fff-puttin­gat­even off-putting at fi­fi­fi­first. first. But re­cently, sours— sours—pre­vi­ously pre­vi­ously lit­tle-known­lit­tle- known tra­di­tional Euro­peanstyles­Euro­pean styles and­mod­er­nand mod­ern Amer­i­can ones—haveones— havesoared­soared in in­pop­u­lar­ity,pop­u­lar­ity, to the point where the once- once-ob­scure­ob­scure genre is is­be­com­ing­be­com­ing main­stream. Here are are­ourour fa­vorites, onaslid­ing­souron a slid­ing sour scale.

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