Burger Displays Dirt Under Fingernails During Latest Video

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Postby Guest » 12/30/01 09:40 PM

Eugene Burger's Magical Voyages. . .his current L&L Video Series composed and directed by Max Maven. . .Includes a sorry event which screamed out at me during my first viewing of. . .Part One: A Voyage To The Real World. . .During his explanation of
his sponge ball routine. . .specifically his explanation of the method of splitting one (?) ball into two balls, the grime and dirt underneath his fingernails was pronounced and disgusting. He works upscale restaurants? I wouldn't want to eat there.

Postby John Pezzullo » 12/31/01 04:22 AM


Prior to the shooting of the video, Eugene Burger had just worked a gig in the 'Enchanted Forest'. He'd left his close-up mat back in Chicago and decided to use a thin layer of enchanted soil as his performing surface. That's were the dirt and grime came from.


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Postby steve » 12/31/01 06:19 AM

Do you do anything BUT complain about everything?

I'd like to know exactly what difference it makes whether he had dirt under his fingernails. Unless you suffer from Obsessive Complusive Disorder, how is this relative to the material taught on the tape?

How about trying to say something nice about someone or something in magic?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/31/01 09:16 AM

Well, I don't recall seeing any dirt under Eugene's fingernails, but for the sake or argument let's say it's there.
Whose fault is it?
If you've ever been involved with a video shoot (which I'm sure crimper hasn't), then you would know that there are a million things going on and certain little things are easy to forget. His nails were clean at the start of the day, and he probably cleaned them once or twice during the day, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if his nails are dirty in a few shots.
It is the fault of the producer and production team, because THEY are the people responsible for keeping track of just these sorts of little details because the performer has ten thousand other things on his or her mind.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 12/31/01 09:29 AM

Interesting that such an allegedflaw would be noted. Eugene is one of the few magicians I've read who emphasizes grooming and cleanliness. Crimper should buy and read "The Performance of Close Up Magic," in which Eugene devotes a page or so to the topic of manicure. I haven't seen the tapes, but will give L&L, Eugene & Max the benefit of the doubt here. Eugene can perform at my dinner table anytime!
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Postby Guest » 01/01/02 01:41 PM

I have the DVD's and I didn't notice. I am surprised if that is the case but I am pretty sure that when he is performing for real people at the restaurant, his nails are in perfect condition.

Postby Guest » 01/01/02 09:08 PM

Mark, do you know Eugene Burger? If so, you would know that he is almost constantly concerned with grooming his hands. I have sat for an hour in conversation while he worked on his hands. He is ALWAYS impeccably well-groomed. In fact, he would give a wonderful lecture for magicians on the essentials of grooming for magical performance.

Postby Guest » 01/02/02 05:35 AM


Yes I do know Eugene. The reason that I keep my nails in the condition they are in is because of what he had to say about the subject (I believe he says that he doesn't want his fingers to look like a "horror movie").

Crimper had stated that he wouldn't want to eat at the restaurant that Eugene is performing at based on what he saw on the DVD's and my comment was that Eugene's nails are most likely in perfect condition when he is working these restaurants.

Postby Guest » 01/02/02 02:02 PM

Hi Mark - my regrets - I clicked on the wrong profile icon and thought your were this other fellow. Isn't Eugene amazing when it comes to his level of detail?

Postby Guest » 01/03/02 05:11 AM

Hello David -

First of all, welcome to the forum.

No problem on the mistaken identity.

To answer your question, yes. Eugene was the first person I ever encountered that discussed things that can make a huge difference in your performance. Things that many people still never think about, like the fingernails.

Eugene usually makes his point so well about things like fingernails that they end up sounding like common sense.

Postby Guest » 01/04/02 12:23 AM

I know its the unpopular opinion, but I don't think Burger is a very good performer. He writes about many important issues, but when it come time to DOING it, he falls short. In his latest book, he gives Ortiz's Strong Magic a backhanded compliment. A lot of people said "Who is Darwin to write such a book?" Well, the same could be said about Burger. Again, just my thoughts.

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/04/02 12:49 AM

During the past 40 years I've heard opinions about almost every celebrated (as in celebrity) magician regarding their performing skills, style, and charisma. Every one of them was bad-mouthed or rounded criticized for their shortcomings, including legends such as Dai Vernon, Albert Goshman, Ed Marlo, Derek Dingle, Alex Elmsley, Max Maven, Bruce Cervon, Harry Lorayne, and on and on...

I hope, however, that we do not confuse a magician's WRITTEN performances (books) with his PERSONAL performances on the various stages and in different venues.

Along these lines, most, if not ALL, of my books have been harshly criticized or lambasted for more reasons than I can presently list.

However, nobody has yet to criticize the state of my fingernails, my inability to touch my toes, or my ability to perform any sleight beyond the Double Undercut.

It's tough to be the Pauly Shore of Cardopia.

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Postby Guest » 01/04/02 11:13 AM

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session with you, Jon, a few years back here in Portland OR. (Couldn't tell you which get-together in was, but CW's past pioneers Nick R. and Rich B. were there along with Joe Stevens.) I introduced myself and even shook hands with you. I assume you had clean fingernails 'cause if you didn't I probably would have noticed.

I was surprized to see how relaxed your performance style is and how at-ease you are at all times. You are truly a gentleman. But if you're feeling left out being included with the greats I'll say it right here "YOUR MAGIC SUCKS!". (Even though you totally fried every magician in the room with your D/S Clock/Joker trick. Excellent job!)

What trick is that anyway?

Postby Bill Mullins » 01/04/02 11:27 AM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
It's tough to be the Pauly Shore of Cardopia.

If you're the Pauly Shore, who is the Carrot Top? The Rip Taylor?

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Postby Guest » 01/04/02 01:32 PM

John just wondering when or where have you seen mr. burger perform.

NoaH Levine

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/04/02 03:21 PM

To Steve:

Thanks for the kind words.

The Joker trick I performed in Portland is called "Clock-Audacious" and is a variation created by Dick Kornwinder and once marketed by Ken Brooke. IMHO, it is the finest clock trick extant.

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Postby Pete Biro » 01/04/02 05:11 PM

ROCKOLA... No Clockadatios (sp?) is NOT the best... Koornwinder hasn't released it yet. But one night, on the floor at Fred Kaps' home, Dick had a card chosen, shuffled, dealt out about a dozen of 'em in a circle and place an empty glass in the middle, then he brought out a long wooden match (like about a foot long for use lighting a fire place)... and placed it across the glass and one by one rotated it around, over each card... and suddenly...


You guessed it.. over the selected card!

Next message about his rising card...

Stay tooned... :rolleyes:
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/04/02 05:13 PM

So Koornhusker (my nickname for Koorwinder) has a card chosen returned to deck and the deck put into a small plastic bag (pre=zip lock) and uses a twist tie to seal the bag.

I believe he leaned the pack against a chair leg (we were sitting on the floor) and the card rose inside the bag and he handed the lot to me to examine.

Nuttin' to find bwana...

I forget the other six mind bogglers, oh one was a pre-introduction of the famed Koornwinder Kar and Kard Kontrol (which I have used ever since). :) :D
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Postby Robert Kane » 01/04/02 11:41 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by John Blaze:
[QB]I know its the unpopular opinion, but I don't think Burger is a very good performer.

Hi John: I respect your opinion and appreciate your sharing a different viewpoint, but I would also respectfully disagree with it. I have seen Eugene Burger lecture several times and also perform close up and stage magic for the public. The audience reaction that I witnessed was always very positive. Mr. Burger is certainly unique and a little strange, but in my opinion, that is what makes him so fun to watch...so entertaining.

In my experience, Mr. Burger has been one of the finest performers I have witnessed and one of the great teachers of our time.

Every time I have been in contact with him at lectures, I have been inspired to work harder and improve my performance. I can only say thanks for that. From what I have seen he also practices what he preaches.

So that is my humble opinion with all good and due respect to yours. Thanks to you too for sharing your thoughts as they served to stimulate and clarify my own about my magic experiences with Mr. Burger and others. That's a good thing. Keep em' coming.

Regards, Robert :)
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Postby Cugel » 01/07/02 02:01 PM

In fairness to Eugene Burger, I don't think he could have helped getting his nails dirty, assuming that he was working on a felt or baize surface (as they seem to on L&L and A1 tapes). Presumably the table top hadn't been cleaned in a while...

Anybody who has performed on the card tables at the Magic Castle will have had the same experience - your nails get clogged with a mixture of felt fuzz and dirt after the first couple of shuffles. There's nothing you can do except clean them between performances. It drives me nuts.

By the way, those tables get a real battering, with people resting drinks on them, sitting on them, lying on them (!) and I even heard a room host found a lady changing a baby on one during a brunch.

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Postby Arthur Martello » 01/08/02 05:00 AM

Hey Crimper
Perhaps you never got to the third tape where Mr. Burger speaks extensively about the care of the his hands. It's hard to believe that anyone would make a negative comment about this truly educational and inspirational video set. You must be one miserable and negative person. Get a life!!!
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Postby Areeb Malik » 01/08/02 01:14 PM

Did anybody see the second head growing out of Simon Lovell's neck in his latest videos? You would think he would wear a scarf or something. :)
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Postby Guest » 01/17/02 07:18 AM

"To answer your question, yes. Eugene was the first person I ever encountered that discussed things that can make a huge difference in your performance. Things that many people still never think about, like the fingernails."

Isn't NOT having dirt under your nails basic personal hygiene? Unless you do a "messy" job (car mechanic as an example) or there's a reason like "the felt coming off the mat" thing, then there can be no excuse for having dirt under your nails. It shouts "I'm not bothered whether I wash or not and don't care about my personal appearance" to me anyway.

Postby Dick Koornwinder » 01/17/02 05:06 PM

To Jon and Pete:
A late reaction on your postings of January 4th. BTW it is funny if you realize this a reply on the topic: Burger Displays Dirt Under Fingernails During Latest Video. Jon especially thanks for your compliments about CLOCKAUDACIOUS (the Joker/Clock trick). English is not my native language, so I have to find out what the hell IMHO is meaning. With my basic knowledge of the language I have an idea and if that is true I repeat….many thanks for the compliments. Ken Brooke has marketed the trick in the seventies and later I have published it in one of my lecture notes and this month I have started to send it as a bonus to those who has ordered a Koornwinder Kar. Pete, I'm always jealous on your powerful memory (where have you developed that?) and of course I also remember quite well those floor sessions at the Kaps residence. You have reminded me to the rising cards in the plastic bag and also to the impact of the trick. I was not using a Devano deck but of course it is also possible with such a deck. For those who are reading this feel free to experiment with the idea. The sessions with Fred Kaps ended very often with a breakfast served by Nellie, the widow of Kaps. I have the pleasure to visit her a couple of times a year and I know she would be delighted if you are sending her a postcard for her birthday on March 5th. Send me a mail and I'll send you the address.
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Postby Guest » 01/17/02 09:37 PM

The thing that probably got on my nerves more than anything was the one wiry hair in his beard that was out of place! Horrors!
Just kidding. I really enjoyed seeing this side (the humorous one, of course) of Eugene.
Dick, we've never met, but I've been a fan for years. Let me be one of the first to say, Welcome!

Postby Guest » 01/17/02 09:44 PM

A reply to Bill Mullins' question several days back - Who is the Carrot Top of magic? I would say Amazing Jonathan. Rip Taylor? Perhaps Jeff Hobson. Now--who is the Jay Leno of magic? The Steve Allen? The Chris Tucker? --Asrah

Postby Guest » 01/17/02 10:11 PM

In regards to Crimper's message, I have only the following to say. Do you know Eugene Burger? I mean do you really know him? I sure do. Not only is he one of my mentors but he is also a cherished friend. In fact I spent time with him, Max Maven, & Bob Neale in California this past August for Jeff McBride's wedding. I don't recall you being there. And as far as a little dirt under his fingernails? Please don't waste our time with such petty nonsense.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/17/02 11:22 PM

Okay, folks, I'm closing this thread. I think Crimper's initial point was valuable if it is true--I haven't had time to look at the tapes to verify it. Some people might feel an explanation was necessary as to why Burger has written about how important the appearance of the nails are, and then shows up on his videotape with dirty nails.
Frankly, anyone who's had to work under the conditions of a video shoot all day might have dirty nails at some point.
All finished now.
We've had sufficient explanations and chit chat about the subject
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