Eugene Burger was a legendary magic teacher, and many of today’s greats benefited from his insight. The soft-spoken Chicagoan did an interview back in November 2011 with a French journalist. Burger touches on many topics, including his own journey to becoming a full-time magician and the importance of magic history.
His different definitions of success might be the most fascinating insight into Burger’s mind. Heads up for you philosophy geeks: Alan Watts figures prominently in that portion of the interview.
Magic has always been a special blend of art and science, and nobody understands that better than Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz. He’s both a professional magician and a faculty member at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and he blends those two passions into a show called The Rosenkranz Mysteries: Physician Magician.
“Saying we are healthy is sometimes a deception, and medicine is a performance art,” Rosenkranz told the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s why this show is so different. I wanted to do a show that had meaning and I wanted to create a show for a thinking audience. I wanted to show that you could not only see magic before your very eyes, but also receive an uplifting message.”
A new production of his one-man show, following on the successful first year of the program in 2016, is about to kick off its run in Chicago. Northwestern alum Jessica Fisch is back again to direct. “This year’s show is like a version 2.0,” Fisch said. “It’s the deepening of an incredible idea.”
Much of the magic Rosenkranz does was inspired by his mentor, Eugene Burger, who passed away last year. Fisch said this second run is a chance to pay homage to his impact on Rosenkranz. Burger inspired many magicians with his PBS documentary The Art of Magic.
Chicago locals can see The Rosenkranz Mysteries: Physician Magician at the Royal George Theater from March 27 through May 6. Tickets and more information are available here. For a closer look, check out this trailer.
As the nights grow longer and the weather grows colder, there’s a good chance you’re going to find yourself tucked inside this weekend. Why not kill an afternoon watching The Art of Magic, a two-and-a-half-hour documentary that originally aired on PBS? It covers a lot of ground exploring the history of magic, from its roots in folklore, through ancient Greek and Roman society, and up to the magic of the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s filled with loads of great info, as well as interviews with and performances by Max Maven, Jeff McBride, the late Eugene Burger, and many, many more. You’ll find it embedded above in its entirety, courtesy of Merovingian’s Magic Shop
Eugene Burger’s legacy doesn’t just include a lifetime of masterfully-performed magic and mentalism. Burger was also a philosopher and educator, instructing students at the McBride Magic & Mystery School about the art of magic and performance as well as teaching university courses on comparative religion. Before his untimely passing in August, Burger was working on a project that combined both of his passions, and on October 23 his book Teaching Magic: A Book for Students and Teachers of the Art will be released to the public.
Co-written by Eugene Burger and Lawrence Hass, Ph.D., this 182 page hardcover book explores Burger’s philosophy of creation, performance, and instruction, imparting valuable advice on how to elevate one’s routine to the next level. From the publisher description:
From the beginning of his illustrious career, Eugene Burger has demonstrated that performing magic is different than presenting a trick or a puzzle. It requires that we genuinely astonish people with an experience of the impossible.
But how can we learn to perform magic that meets this high standard? Who can teach us how to do so?
In this book for students and teachers of magic, master magician Eugene Burger explores the path for learning how to perform magic that has exceptional impact for our audiences.
The book also includes instructions for seven previously-unpublished routines, as well as access to videos of Burger performing five of them.
Teaching Magic: A Book for Students and Teachers of the Art will be available on October 23 for $39.95. It is currently available for pre-order now from Vanishing Inc., Murphy’s Magic, or direct from the publisher at Theory of Art and Magic Press.
The world-renowned Eugene Burger, known for his close-up magic and mentalist skills, has died at the age of 78.
The news originally broke via The International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 130’s Facebook Page, and his website has since been updated with the following statement:
It is with heavy hearts that we, friends of Eugene Burger, inform you that Eugene has passed away in Chicago at the age of 78. Please join us in remembering and celebrating Eugene, a rare and wonderful person who has meant so much to us and to magicians all over the world.
Eugene enjoyed a long, healthy life, but was very recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Even so, his death today came more quickly than expected, and we are deeply shocked and saddened by his loss.
We know that in the days, weeks, and months ahead, countless things will be written and said about Eugene, and we will share more information, too. But for now we want to tell you that Eugene embraced his situation with great clarity, humor, and peace of mind. As he said one day, “Now I am on the way to the ultimate capital M Mystery of life.”
Please join us in remembering and celebrating Eugene, a rare and wonderful person who has meant so much to us and to magicians all over the world.
Born in 1939, Eugene Burger leaves behind a legacy of nearly four decades of illusions, and his work has influenced countless magicians and performers all over the world, many of whom have expressed their condolences via Twitter.
A magic legend, a friend, an inspiration to me & countless others, Eugene Burger has passed away. It's a slow fade: he leaves a lot of love.
— Derren Brown (@DerrenBrown) August 9, 2017
Terribly sad news about the death of Eugene Burger – a master of magic and story, a huge inspiration and a life-changing mentor in my life.
— Ben Hart (@ItsBenHart) August 9, 2017
Saddened to hear of the passing of a truly magical artist, Eugene Burger. So kind, so generous. I'll miss his laugh. He had a great laugh. pic.twitter.com/Deaes3uTpl
— DEREK DELGAUDIO (@derek_del) August 9, 2017
Burger wasn’t just a magician; he also held degrees in Philosophy and Divinity from Yale University. He wrote several books on bizarre magic such as Strange Ceremonies, taught courses on comparative religion and philosophy, and frequently taught at the McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas.
We at Genii Online offer our condolences to Burger’s friends and loved ones. In celebration of all he gave to the world of magic, we leave you with a video showcasing his impressive talents and inimitable charisma: