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.