All the things you mention have to do with personal opinions about him as a person, but have nothing to do with his performance. I mean I don't know anything of other magicians' personal lifes, behaviour and so on- I watch them doing their magic, and either I enjoy it and want to see more, or I don't and watch someone else.
It wouldn't really make sense to reply in detail to the reasons you listed... As a fan and someone who has read his book, my opinion is the total opposite and we could argue about every detail to the end of time!
The thing is, all those are things none of us knows the full true story, so I won't judge him for any of them. You mentioned the divorce and all I can say is that there are always 3 sides when it comes to something like this: the sides of the 2 people envolved and the truth, which mostly lies anywhere in the middle of both. But in my opinion this regards to nobody but them.
Oh and yes, I know the pictures of Criss on Houdini's grave. What's wrong with them, do you know all of them and the story about it or only the one where he sits on the grave? He didn't mean it in a disrespectful way. Quite the contrary, it was for a Houdini tribute
. Years later, on a Halloween episode of Mindfreak, Criss said that he visits the grave every year on Halloween. He's just a man who does what he feels is right, and doesn't really care about what other people think. That kind of personality truly has a positive and a negative side, but I accept him as he is. Without that self-assurance, he wouldn't be the performer he is. And the thing with his mother's house, I guess she had a reason why she allowed him to do that: she believed in her son. And he succeeded. If he were ashamed of it, he wouldn't mention it in his book, would he? He also admits that he is often selfish as an artist, that he sometimes feels sorry for that but has to live his life that way. One can accept it or not, he never tried to please everyone.
Oh I'm really unable to make it short!
I don't want to persuade you, just show that everything can be seen from different angles. However, I understand that you don't like him as a person when you see the things the way you said, but I still don't get why this should affect other magicians.
Oh I had forgotten something: when I said that he captivated people when he was on low budget, I actually meant the time before he had the off-broadway show. The "Madison Scare Garden" for example, but generally that he performed magic his whole life and always had his little success before things went big.