In September 2008, I attended the first ever performance of magician Criss Angel at his new residency show–Criss Angel BeLIEve–at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Our tickets were complementary (I was writing a review for AXS Entertainment’s blog which featured such reporting at the time), and our seats were center, on the back row of the front section.
I felt a bit sorry for the magician, because despite his good intentions for a “new” type of theater experience, there were several mishaps in queuing, lighting, music and even props.
Early in the production, Angel, trapped in a white straitjacket and spinning, suddenly disappeared as the theater went totally dark.
Music and sound effects stirred a puzzled and startling response of gasps in the audience. Spotlights suddenly appeared, shining on a point right above our heads.
Criss Angel was dropped out of the ceiling hanging by his bound ankles, struggling to escape the tightly strapped straitjacket. Just as he was a mere six feet over our heads, more overhead house lights were turned on to the delight of everyone while he “escaped” the confines of the jacket.
As everyone applauded, still hanging upside down, Angel was slowly lowered to a blonde lady right next to me. She stood up and he embraced her.
They kissed. We clapped.
As they reeled him back up through the trapped door in the ceiling, I leaned over and said to the woman, “Wow, how did you get so lucky to get that seat? I’m glad it wasn’t me seated there.”
“Oh, it is he that is the lucky one,” she replied.
After he returned back to the stage he took a moment to thank us for attending that night’s performance and being patient with the “mixups” of a new show and early jitters of the crew.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank my girlfriend who you just saw me kiss while I was hanging upside down like Spiderman,” he pointed back to the blonde sitting on my left. “Miss Amber Heard, ladies and gentlemen.”
To this day, I don’t know if Heard was his actual girlfriend, because we thought he was dating Holly Madison at the time. But it’s Vegas. Who knows? What happens there is not the same as in Hollywood!
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Jump to 2022. I happily quit watching television—especially the news—years ago and have not been too much engaged with the entertainment world since.
Having a nice breakfast conversation at the ‘Table of Knowledge’ in one of my favorite Texas Hill Country restaurants one morning, a veteran police officer, the now retired Jim Harvey, mentioned he wanted to get home in time to watch the continuing saga of the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard Trial.
He briefed the diners and morning coffee drinkers about the latest drama of the televised proceedings. It was intriguing, but I elected to wait until after it was basically over to watch some video of the court antics.
All I knew about Heard was that I sat next to her for 90 minutes at the Criss Angel show while the magician was on record as dating Holly Madison in those days. The only other thing I was familar about Heard was that she was born and raised in “The San Francisco of Texas,” the Keep it Weird city of Austin. This explained, for me at least, some of her antics I witnessed on the video clips of the trial.
Following her loss in court, this was Heard’s official released statement:
Based on what I saw and heard, here are a few things to think about regarding her statement:
🔹The ‘mountain of evidence’ she presented was actually what helped her lose. She very clearly lied about several things and refused to take responsibility for any of the wrong she had done.
🔹This verdict could have set back the clock for women at least as much as the Hollywood starlets who participated in the #MeToo movement one moment, then followed by publically attacking Jeffrey Epstein accusers the next. Heard lying about abuse and trying to profit from it may have implications for years to come. People will find it harder to take someone at their word without thinking back to this trial. Will they wonder if the person is being truthful or making it up to hurt someone that they are mad at?
🔹Her and her attorneys trying to make this out to be a freedom of speech case is pathetic. Nobody took away her rights. The 1st amendment isn’t there for people to use it to lie and try to ruin people with false accusations. That’s why there are laws against that sort of thing.
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