Magician Criss Angel met a woman recently with 19 tattoos of him. Calmly, he chalks it up to his connection to his fans.
“I can’t believe how many people I’ve met who have been so connected to me because of something I said or did,” Angel said.
“I would have never expected a woman to have 19 tattoos of myself—including my face. It’s because that connection goes beyond the trick. It’s the magic of emotion.”
Angel – who brings his “Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged” to the Events Center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin on Sunday, Feb. 16 – has been emotional himself.
His 5-year-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, with Australian singer Shaunyl Benson, is suffering from leukemia.
“I’m always open and positive, especially because of what I’m going through with my son, Johnny Crisstopher,” Angel says.
“You’ll see I go out there and still appreciate every moment. Every moment’s a blessing. I encourage people to live their dreams. I’m not special. I’m not different, except I work very hard.”
Angel said he was “6 years young” when he learned his first card trick from his aunt. From there, he, admittedly, drove everyone crazy performing the same trick.
“It’s such a sense of power to be able to do something an adult didn’t understand,” Angel says. “I love magic. When I was 10 or 11, I got a magic set under the Christmas tree. I was obsessed with it. I used to watch magic on television.”
For nearly two decades, Angel dominated the world of magic, from “Criss Angel Mindfreak” on A&E to TV specials, best-selling books, top-grossing retail products and sold-out tours.
The youngest inductee in the International Magicians Society Hall of Fame, Angel’s performance is a theatrical experience, featuring his famous sleight of hand street magic, mentalism and some of his most iconic illusions.
“I always wanted to do magic and music. My wish came true. Be careful what you wish for. The fact I can vanish on stage and reappear in the audience means you can become a doctor, lawyer, actor or magician. My show is a fun night and people will have a great, fun time with me.”
Angel chalks up his success to fans connecting with his message.
“It’s not about what I do or how do I do the trick,” he says. “It’s how you feel when you watch it. I want to inspire and encourage people to conquer their own dreams.”
Johnny Crisstopher is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia and will for three years.
“He looks like he’s responding very well to treatment. It’s a great sign,” he said.
“Everything is looking very promising,” he adds. “We know, with this disease – which affects one child every two minutes – can change on a dime. We have a lot of bad days, one great day, but you always have to keep your eyes open and stay vigilant.”
Angel rattles off statistics like it’s rote. Toxic chemotherapy claims 10 percent of the children who have must go through it because their organs are so fragile, he says.
“You see an innocent child there and you feel so helpless,” Angel says. “It’s a horrible thing to go through.”
Angel created the Believe Foundation and was awarded the Make-a-Wish Foundation award for most supportive celebrity in May 2010.
“All of the money I raise goes to research and treatment,” Angel says. “There is no overhead and no administrative costs. The kids who do go through, look at us and the families don’t feel alone. They can relate to us and see the frustration and anger and the up and down rollercoaster we go through.”
Angel is working on a documentary called “1095,” named after the number of days Johnny Crisstopher went through chemotherapy. He hopes the documentary, produced by “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal’s” Sarah Gibson, will be released this year.
“We’re trying to bring awareness and we’re going to have a huge event,” he said. “We’ll be announcing in April. We’re trying to raise many millions of dollars for pediatric cancer, go in front of Congress and enact a legislation to get more funding for this horrible disease.”
The show in Maricopa is “going to be fantastic,” he says. The show is straight from his Broadway productio, an amalgamation of his Planet Hollywood show in Las Vegas, his TV series and world premiere efforts.
“I love touring,” he says. “I perform 40 weeks a year in Vegas. I have 12 weeks off. Eight or 10 of those 12 weeks. I tour because I love it so much. I take it quite seriously. I love getting out there and doing my thing.”