TV magician Criss Angel says he is building an ‘escape camp’ for kids suffering from cancer – after seeing his seven-year-old son fight the killer disease back from the brink twice.
Angel’s son Johnny Crisstopher made his first red carpet appearance since remission at his dad’s new Las Vegas stage show Amystika on April 2.
Angel told DailyMail.com how his 20-hour-a-day work life helps fund his plan to aid youngsters ‘going through hell’ whose families are unable to afford ‘the means to be able to get away and escape their reality.’
The workaholic performer spoke exclusively at the premiere of his new show earlier this month, for which he will be playing two separate performances nightly in Las Vegas.
Angel, one of Sin City’s most prolific performers, has already broken ground for his kids camp on land an hour’s drive north east of the city.
The magician says he is inspired by his own son’s battle against the odds to move into remission from his cancer, adding that he wants to entertain and push boundaries – even if it risks his life – in his new Planet Hollywood show.
TV magician Criss Angel tells DailyMail.com he is building an ‘escape camp’ for kids suffering from cancer
Criss Angel appeared on the red carpet with his family. It was his de el son de el Johnny Crisstopher’s (left) first first red carpet appearance since remission at his dad’s new Las Vegas stage show Amystika on April 2
His previous stunts have included being buried alive, narrowly avoiding being crushed by a truck, and riding an exploding motorcycle.
But the magician, who shot to fame two decades ago with his TV series Mindfreak, says some people misconstrue his wild stage persona as real.
Angel, who was sporting a $1million custom-made diamond Phillip Klein studded suit while speaking to DailyMail.com on the red carpet in Vegas, said: ‘This is all fun to play dress up, but Criss Angel is all bulls**t .’
‘What I am and who I really am is Crisstopher: a guy who lives his life for his family and for other children, who are going through the toughest battle of their lives… That is pediatric cancer,’ he said.
‘I am setting a course to work with Marilyn Kirkpatrick, the commissioner of Clark County. I have bought land, a restaurant, and I am trying to make an escape camp for kids that are going through the hardest time of their lives.
‘They will be able to come out to Moapa Valley, stay there for three days and two nights and ride off road vehicles on a private track and be able to eat for free. Everything is free. That is my mission.’
Angel said his magic shows are now ‘merely a vehicle to leverage it to do that.’
‘I believe that in the first year that we open up this escape camp, 500 families will be able to experience this,’ he added.
In January, Angel announced that his seven-year-old son was in remission from cancer.
Johnny, who joined his father on the red carpet at the premiere, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 when he was 20 months old. The little boy had a brief remission before the cancer returned in December 2019.
The ‘escape camp’ is inspired by his seven-year-old son Johnny Crisstopher who is now in remission
The magician says he is inspired by his own son’s battle against the odds to move into remission from his cancer, adding that he wants to entertain and push boundaries – even if it risks his life – in his new Planet Hollywood show
The Angel family announced via Instagram on January 17 that Johnny Crisstopher (left) has entered into remission for the second time and would be ending cancer treatment
‘To try to help even just one family, one kid that’s going through hell, that’s something to look forward to. And that’s really my mission,’ Angel said.
‘When you have a kid with cancer, you realize how important that is. And I challenge anyone to try to do that, that doesn’t. I guarantee you that the feeling you get is priceless. You can’t buy it. It’s something that’s beautiful. Something that’s in you. It makes you feel good.
‘It gives you the energy and the strength and the motivation to get up in the morning and not to be tired. But to look at every moment as a gift to make something out of.’
Angel also welcomed Johnny’s cancer doctor Dr Alan Ikeda, a pediatric surgeon and oncologist, and his family to the red carpet for the show.
Angel has raised millions for charity and cancer causes, including the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, often donating his time to perform magic at hospitals across the country.
The magician said he is ‘blessed’ to be in a position to use his fame for good.
‘My passion is my fuel. I want to use every moment of my life to create something memorable.
‘Life is but the memories you create for others to remember.
‘I’m a 54-year-old man who has worked his a** off for 18 years to become an overnight success. Trust me, I’m not going to allow that success and that opportunity that I have to slip out of my fingertips and not do something for the greater good.’
But Angel added that in trying to please his audiences, he can put himself in dangerous or even life-threatening positions.
Criss Angel posed with his sons Johnny Crisstopher and Xristos Yanni on the rest carpet of his Vegas show
His TV shows have been based around death-defying tricks that included digging himself out of a coffin buried under tons of snow and walking across a minefield of improvised explosive devices.
‘I’ve created my own monster now that I’m a slave to. And I’m my biggest opponent. I’m my biggest challenge. I have a love-hate relationship with what I do,’ he said.
‘I want to push the boundaries. I want to try to figure out what can we do to make people feel something.
‘So, what we’ve done is come up with real, immersive experiences like a complete blizzard that happens in the entire theater where it’s so thick, so rich that you can’t even see your hand in front of you.
‘We have a windstorm that happens where the audience, I had custom made these enormous fans throughout the theater.
‘There’s a guy that’s literally on fire, a guy that has to hold his breath for more than four minutes in order to do his escape that’s literally feet away from the first row, hanging 360 degrees with nothing to hide. And there are the most technically sophisticated pieces that really are a visual feast. ‘
More information on Angel’s charitable causes can be found at https://crissangel.com/donations/