After standing out in the rain for too many hours, about a dozen of Criss Angel’s fans rushed the building last night right after the media briefing at Virgin Unite’s Midnight Magic. Some lady was screaming that she needed to be healed. Being a group of cynical bitches, we were more amused that he had so few fans willing to bring the crazy. But still…it was a glimpse into the Mind Freak phenomenon independent of Cameron Diaz and Britney Spears.

Call me Cruise or even square but I just don’t “get” it.

First of all, Criss Angel is badly badly dressed. As in trying way too hard. With his Misfits leather jacket and his torn up designer scrappy jeans and Meg Ryan’s shag from 1995 … Criss Angel has to work at being cool. Which is why he is so not cool. Stephen King wrote a great article this week for Entertainment Weekly (click here to read) – a brilliant treatise on what constitutes cool.

Criss Angel is not cool.

Having said that, I can see the appeal. There’s a certain charisma. He’s an effective salesman, with an affected English/Brooklyn street accent (???), sells his “magic” convincingly, like all magicians, there’s a cheesy earnestness about his pitch – about how he has trained for years to develop some technique, how the premonition overtakes him at the most random moments… inwardly you’re rolling your eyes. But still you can’t help watching, although his 3 tricks last night were kind of lame, especially the finale.

He broke out of a straight jacket in under 3 minutes while suspended from the ceiling. Kinda underwhelming considering we were expecting him to levitate into the rafters or sever someone in two and command both parts to move independently of each other.

If you ask me, Criss Angel’s true magic is the girl thing. All day and all night, one after the other, he was workin’ it hard. Not unsuccessfully. There was a lot of blushing, a lot of eagerness. I guess some women find it easy to look beyond the coif. But when it takes a dude longer to remove his jewellery than it does for him to escape from a straight jacket… to me that’s not quiver. It’s simply lame. Didn’t stick around long enough to find out if he mind freaked his way into someone’s bed. Didn’t care either.

But he DID raise $120K for charity. Yay!