Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

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Richard Kaufman
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Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 9th, 2017, 7:51 am

Posted by Larry Hass on Facebook at 7 am this morning:

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.

Eugene enjoyed a long, healthy life, but was very recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Even so, his death last night 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.
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CraigMitchell
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby CraigMitchell » August 9th, 2017, 8:03 am

Eugene was one of the true giants in magic ... such fond memories of the events during the teen weekends at the World Magic Seminar. No matter who you were - beginner or pro - Eugene treated everyone as if they were the most important person in the room. A gentle soul who will be sorely missed.

Terry
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Terry » August 9th, 2017, 8:16 am

Huge loss to the magic community.

First experienced Eugene at a 90's Florida State Convention in Miami. He was on a discussion panel and if memory serves, was wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. I thought he was a biker.

jwjmcd
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby jwjmcd » August 9th, 2017, 8:21 am

So sorry to lose a man with a giant heart and a magical brain. I met him a couple of times and can only echo the comments above about how he made me everyone feel special. Love and prayers to his family and friends.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Matthew Field » August 9th, 2017, 8:41 am

I edited several of Eugene's books, and he and I were friendly. We often spoke about things spiritual -- he knew I am a Tibetan Buddhist (of the atheist variety). He was a man who cared deeply about magic, and who was committed to expressing his insights into aspects of magic theory, along with the tricks. Both of these aspects were so well explained in his books and videos, and in his classes and lectures at Jeff McBride's school and elsewhere. His column with Jeff in Genii was always a delight to read.

He has left a giant legacy and leaves magic in a better state because of his contributions.

I will miss him on so many levels.

Matt Field

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Steve Bryant
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Steve Bryant » August 9th, 2017, 9:10 am

Sometimes the news here just breaks your heart. Condolences to the staff of the McBride Mystery School, to its lucky graduates, and to Eugene's legion of fans, friends, and family everywhere.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby erdnasephile » August 9th, 2017, 9:49 am

In 1988, having never heard of Mr. Burger, I purchased Secrets and Mysteries on a whim without even flipping through it. After reading the first couple of chapters, I went back the next day and bought every Eugene Burger book I could get my hands on. Over the subsequent years, he has changed the way I think about my magic over and over again.

Mr. Burger has sometimes been described in print as a "slightly malevolent Santa Claus". If that is so, then one cannot begin to count the number of priceless, yet sometimes painful, gifts this mysterious St. Nick gave us. Priceless because of his keen, unwavering insight, but painful because he forced us to confront truths we'd rather not consider. Yet, his writings were ultimately about hope--hope for the future of magic and hope that you, the reader, might actually contribute to that future.

Of his many memorable quotes, this is one that is seared into me:

“...Don't listen to those voices who assure you that if a routine is in print it isn't stealing to do it. Yes, it's true, if a routine is in print then it is not stealing, but if you do it the way it is written it is still copying and imitating and looking to others, rather than to ourselves, for our inspiration and insight." (The Performance of Close-Up Magic, pg 78)

and this as well:

“The most important thing that the magician does is reminds all of us that we are magicians too. We are all of us magicians. You can go through life as the victim … or you can be a magician in your own life, transforming it in wonderful and powerful ways.” http://www.austincollege.edu/theory-art-magic-austin-college/

My sincerest sympathies to his family and his many, many friends.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Bob Farmer » August 9th, 2017, 1:02 pm

He was a great man. This is terrible news.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Robert77 » August 9th, 2017, 1:39 pm

Years ago Eugene presented a lecture at The Mansions Hotel in San Francisco. One of the topics covered in the lecture was Equivoque. Eugene first demonstrated it using an attendee as the spectator. Then he explained it in some detail. Then he showed it again now that we supposedly knew how it worked. When the item was once again predicted, the attendee blurted out "Wait, what!?" Even though he'd just been shown how it all worked, he didn't see it coming.

Eugene was that skilled. And despite his tremendous skill, his friendliness was even greater.

What a loss :(.

reburbia
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby reburbia » August 9th, 2017, 3:52 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
“...Don't listen to those voices who assure you that if a routine is in print it isn't stealing to do it. Yes, it's true, if a routine is in print then it is not stealing, but if you do it the way it is written it is still copying and imitating and looking to others, rather than to ourselves, for our inspiration and insight." (The Performance of Close-Up Magic, pg 78)




Amen. rest in peace
"My counterbalance to... noisy and orgy-like magic videos....one has to re-look at this video to know what had exactly happened. Screaming and running around audience....convince everyone that the particular trick was fantastic." LF

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby brianarudolph » August 9th, 2017, 4:00 pm

I just had the pleasure of seeing Eugene this past May at AbraCORNdabra in Des Moines where he was the surprise guest of honor. I've seen Eugene many times over the years going way back to my first Abbott Get-Togethers in the late 70s. His thoughts and philosophies on magic had a big influence on me then and it's amazing how much more influential those became over the ensuing years. Every time I read, watch, re-read and re-watch any of Eugene's work, it just gets better.

My heart goes out to all of Eugene's family, friends, and the magic community.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby GordonBean » August 9th, 2017, 4:21 pm

My favorite experience of the entire last Magic Live was spending time with Eugene at the Mystery School booth and watching him do The Trick That Can't Be Explained over and over. In the hubbub of the last open hours of the dealer room, his calm depth was like a magic portal to a past that seems increasingly distant. I'll never forget standing alongside him, watching the astonished faces of young magi as he took all of us to a very special place.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby MagicbyAlfred » August 9th, 2017, 6:02 pm

I was saddened to awaken to this news today. I first saw the thread's title, and immediately experienced several physiological symptoms, including a lump in my throat, a chill, a quickening of my heartbeat - then reading further, a tear forming in my eye. I never had the honor of meeting this extraordinary spirit, but somehow I always felt like I knew him and that he was a personal friend. He was a profound influence in making me realize that magic is so much more than just the tricks, and inspiring me to create my own presentations, as opposed to feeling like I had the right to copy someone's work just because a routine happened to be in a book or video for which I paid. But, he also made me realize that, while there is an ethical issue in this, it goes well beyond that - into the realm of originality, creativity and artistic pride. He was/IS one of a kind. He enriched us, and all whom he touched, beyond measure, and he will be very, very missed.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Q. Kumber » August 9th, 2017, 6:15 pm

Back in 1998, I brought Eugene to Dublin for a special event. One of the places I took him to visit was Newgrange, an ancient structure that well predates the pyramids. On the winter solstice it's entrance is in alignment with the rising sun which illuminates an inner passage and chamber. The experience had a profound effect on him.

One incident best describes Eugene for me. We were walking along the street and a slightly harassed black lady with a baby in a pushchair and a toddler in tow smiled at Eugene. I pondered aloud as to why she would have smiled at him. His reply, "Because I smiled at her first."

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby observer » August 9th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Very sorry to hear of his passing. I talked to him just a couple of times, but enough to learn that in addition to being an enormous influence on the magic art he was a really good person.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Andy » August 9th, 2017, 7:03 pm

It is very sad. The last time I spent time with Eugene was at the home of James Hamilton who just passed away from cancer also. It was a Sunday afternoon where we learned, watched, and got feedback. I was one of the lucky ones who got feedback not only from Eugene but the other magicians in attendance. He made me feel good about magic and my self. He will be missed,

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Daniel Z » August 9th, 2017, 8:42 pm

The last time I saw him was early April of this year. My wife and I got to hang out with him over a few meals. He seemed to be in great shape. We made plans to get together in a few months. My sadness at the loss I felt on hearing the news was tempered by how glad I feel that I got to know him - even a little. A wonderful magician, teacher, thinker, writer, and friend.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 9th, 2017, 8:49 pm

He was magic's spiritual guru in so many, many ways. RIP

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Ted M » August 11th, 2017, 7:48 am


Brad Henderson
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Brad Henderson » August 11th, 2017, 9:21 am

It was winter. Probably in 1990 or so. I was attending the Midwest Music Educator's conference as a student. I was familiar with Eugene's work via his books and it had already had a profound affect on me. I was going through a crisis in my own performances. I was feeling the triviality of my approach - approach admittedly copied from every other magician i had seen.

On a lark i went to a pay phone and called the man who wrote the book that inspired me to start striving for more. What did I expect? i don't know. i was going to ask if he was working somewhere. Maybe i could pop in and see him work.

I called. He answered and sadly he wasn't working anywhere that night. He had dinner plans with a magic buddy of his. I think he could tell i was disappointed. Or maybe not. Before i could say anything I was immediately invited to attend.

Who invites a total stranger to dinner with his friends?!? well Eugene did and i'm lucky for it.

As one can imagine, i was a bit stunned but said yes. My student friends told me to be careful. afterall, who goes to a strangers apartment after one phone call?

Well, i did - and i'm lucky for it.

Anyway, i arrived and my first thought was, "You are WAYYY shorter than i thought you would be'.

thankfully i kept that to myself.

I was invited in and introduced to his friends Jay and Jack. I took a seat and he said he wanted to show me something.

He took out a deck of cards and a small tray. He asked me to deal through the cards face up onto the tray he held between his hands. I was told to deal face up so i could see they were in no order, or none that i would recognize. He chuckled in that way that wasn't completely comforting.

At any point i could stop. i did. He picked up the cards i dealt past and casually spread them in front of me. Normal cards. Ok. He took the cards from my hand and casually displayed them as well. Again. Just as you would expect.

Then he turned over the card on the tray. it had a large X on its back.

This time i chuckled. I was not completely comforted.

He then handed me the tray. Now it was his turn to deal through the cards face down. i was to tell him when to stop but to be sure there was a card IN HIS HAND when i did, lest he be accused of playing one of those magician's games. After a few cards I wanted to stop, but went a couple more because - well, i know things.

Again he showed me the card i stopped on, and the ones i didn't. He then took the tray from my hands. It wasn't a tray but a piece of card board folded in half. He opened it. It wasn't just card board. It was a card. It was a match of the card i just stopped on.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck, the room spun just a little, and i felt my stomach drop.

We both chuckled.

And i knew i had much to learn.

And over the years i did. He was always gracious with his time and always honest with his opinions. He let me know when i made smart choices and let me know when i made less than smart choices. He helped me to see magic more deeply than i had imagined possible and further down paths that were yet to be explored. And every time i visited i left with some small gift, sometimes a book, sometime's a video, once he even gave me the case that was his close up case. And while i have all of those things still, they are just objects. It is his affect on my thinking that i cherish most. Every idea i've had is built in some way on the lessons i learned listening to him. I know many will say the same.

Eugene hasn't left us. As long as we keep building on his work, on his ideas, he will be with us forever.

True Wizards are rare and eternal.

Eugene was our true wizard.

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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Andres Reynoso » August 11th, 2017, 7:19 pm

I met Eugene Burger two times: at both Genii Conventions.

We crossed few words each time but I remember very well that moments.

First time I met him, I introduced myself and told him I'm from Mexico and he visited my country some years ago for a convention, lamentably I didn't know about the convention on time, so I missed his presence in Mexico. He very calmly and with a warm smile said "but you are here" Yes, I was there and enjoyed every minute.

Other time, I aproached him with a Genii magazine October 2013 and asked him for an autograph. He happily accepted, even he seemed flattered.

I have the impression that Eugene Burger always had a time for the people who aproached him. Thank you for that.

During last Genii Convention, Eugene was sat down two or three seats across me during a show. I'm not sure, but I think was Tom Mullica's show. Eugene was really enjoying it and laughing very much (If was Tom Mullica, everybody was laughing very much)

I remember watching Mr Burger performing live his Shiva's thread, the inquisition card warp, 13 at the table, and a card trick involving a clock-like formation. I don't remember very well this trick (during Genii 75th anniversary bash) I just remember I was amazed and some people was trying to decipher the method. For me was that kind of tricks that you prefer to don't know how it works. During last Genii Convention, to see Dark Stories was phenomenal.

Eugene Burger lets us his philosophy, his books. I have read some of them, I want to read some more. I consider him one of the finest performers and thinkers of our time. Of course, one of the finest teachers. He have teach us with his books, his tapes, his lectures, even with clases.

He will be missed
Andres Reynoso

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 12th, 2017, 11:35 am

A gift from Kozmo:

Part #1
https://kozmomagic.wistia.com/medias/qwzef9bojy
Part #2
https://kozmomagic.wistia.com/medias/8x9umt9bnt

We shot this a few years ago....

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby MagicbyAlfred » August 12th, 2017, 1:55 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:A gift from Kozmo:

Part #1
https://kozmomagic.wistia.com/medias/qwzef9bojy
Part #2
https://kozmomagic.wistia.com/medias/8x9umt9bnt

We shot this a few years ago....



Thank you for this, Leo!

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 12th, 2017, 4:02 pm

You're welcome Alfred! And thanks to Kozmo for shooting those two videos of Burger and sharing them with magicians.

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Andrew Pinard
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Re: Eugene Burger Has Died at 78

Postby Andrew Pinard » August 13th, 2017, 10:48 am

Thanks to Kozmo for posting the videos. The interview with Eugene was one of my favorites. I only wish we had recorded the two hour conversation we had when Gene and I went for dinner afterward.

He will be missed, but will be with us always.


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