Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Houdini Resurrected in Vegas

Illusionist, Criss Angel, and the amazing, French Canadian performance troupe, Cirque du Soleil, will soon debut their joint venture in Las Vegas. The show is called, "Believe."

First off, it kind of kills me that this show is coming out, because 7 years ago, I dreamed up something very similar, including the whole visual style that Believe is using. The visuals I wanted to use, though, were based on the art work of Slovakian artist and my good friend, Ondrej Rudavsky.

Do you know what it is like to have to surrender your ideas to someone else who is obviously more prolific at putting thoughts into action. It sucks big time! If you have ever seen one of your ideas successfully done by someone else, then you know what I am talking about.

Hmppfff!! C'mon, Marcel, rise above. Rise above.

So, how does Criss Angel's "Believe" compare with what would have been my original idea? Well, in "Believe", it appears that Criss Angel will stress the hidden word "lie" found within the title "Believe." My show would have stressed that creativity and imagination are really part of the grammar of our higher consciousness. My show would have stressed the whole word, "believe."

Criss Angel has recently become an active voice within the skeptical community, and his inspiration for the title of the show "Believe," comes from the father of the modern day skeptical movement himself, Harry Houdini.

The word, "Believe," is the coded anagram Houdini gave his wife, Bess, in 1926 prior to his passing. There is a lot of debate whether or not any medium was ever able to bring this coded anagram forward from beyond the grave.

Houdini's famous ongoing debate with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over the authenticity of spiritualism and mediums is both famous and fabled, and it is a debate that has been played out in the public eye for over a century. As far as debunkers go, Houdini was the pioneer. His passion and dedication for exposing fraud inspired a generation of magicians turned paranormal debunkers. First and foremost on that list is, James Randi.

Of course, there have also been many magicians, who, in spite of their abilities as illusionists and mentalists, still believe that there's something to the paranormal.

Anyway, we're in a new century of this debate. Criss Angel has just upped the ante, so to speak, by giving debunking and skepticism some Vegas gloss and partnering it with the world's most original, and beloved circus.

This is a real coup. Honestly, it looks fantastic. I definitely want to see it, even if it kills me to admit utter and total artistic defeat. :-)

Here is the video of Criss Angel revealing the show's title and inspiration.

Here is a funny parody of Criss Angel revealing the name of his Vegas show.