Page 16

August 05 ED


6:37 PM

Page 56



ave Baram is the President and COO of The Firm, the largest talent management company in the entertainment business, and manager of Criss Angel and Executive Producer of the Criss Angel Mindfreak television series. GENII: Does The Firm manage any other magicians? BARAM: No. The company was formed in 1997 and Criss

is the first and only magician we’ve represented. GENII: You’ve been interested in magic …. BARAM: Yes, I’m an amateur magician. Unfortunately my job doesn’t allow me an enormous amount of free time, but I go through phases—like many amateurs, I suspect— where I’m heavily into it. I’ve been a Genii subscriber … GENII: Well you’re okay in my book! Seriously, what kind of magic do you like? BARAM: I’m a big fan of close-up magic—the shows I’ve done have mostly been close-up and parlor magic. Also some mentalism. In addition to Criss, I tend to enjoy guys like Eugene Burger and Banachek, whose performances have a dramatic quality to them, as well as great sleight of hand artists like Paul Wilson who as you know has an incredible gambling routine. Then there is David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Penn & Teller, the Amazing 56


Johnathan, Johnny Thompson ... I could list many more who I often go out of my way to see. GENII: What attracted you to Criss Angel so that he would become the first and only magician managed by The Firm? BARAM: Let me put the answer in some context. We’re fortunate to have a pretty strong client list, with artists such as Linkin Park, Martin Scorsese, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sam Jackson, and others. We have worked with many of them since before their first film or record, so the business we are really in is the artist development business—trying to build and grow careers. I’ve had my eyes open for years, looking for someone to work with in magic that we could help build a highly successful career and brand across multiple genres of entertainment. Someone who could take magic and music and theater experience, then combine all those elements together— because those are the types of clients we work with most often. Artists who are multi-talented and often not genrespecific, like our clients Snoop and Jennifer Lopez doing movies, TV, music, brands and more. The late 1990s was a slow time for magic because, other than a small group of magicians like Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, and Lance Burton who were doing extraordinarily well, there wasn’t a real cultivation of a younger audience. If you were doing magic, the MTV generation thought you were kind of a geek—not part of pop culture. GENII: My own experience has been that, if you ask people under the age of 35 who David Copperfield is, many don’t recognize the name, but they all know who David Blaine is. BARAM: Because of Blaine’s approach. GENII: But Blaine is a creation of TV, and he has not been able to build a live show of any kind. And this is what places Criss beyond anyone else because he can do these extremely dangerous Houdini-like stunts in addition to stage magic and close-up magic and mentalism—he can do them all for TV and do them all live. BARAM: Exactly! Criss is an unbelievably multi-faceted artist. We are in the new century and there’s this void waiting to be filled. There’s a bit of a revitalization with the younger demographic regarding magic, and we’ve been waiting for someone to come along who can speak to the younger generations and also support a highly creative live show, whether it be on tour or in a permanent venue. I’ve had to do a lot of educating at my company because many don’t “get” magic as a commercial art form. At first, my colleagues wondered why I wanted to spend time on magic. There are obviously many more actors making over $20 million dollars a film than there are magicians making a fraction of that kind of money. But what Criss is doing is more than just traditional magic. He is trying to do for magic what Cirque du Soleil did for the circus—combine many different art forms and create something new. Criss is someone who I felt could really take advantage of our platform as a company, from music, to film, to television, to live, to touring, to branding—to everything else we do as a company. He has the ability and is on his way to being a true superstar across all those areas. He is not only the creator and star of the series, he directed, produced, and

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...