Eugene: The Performance of
©1987 by Richard Kaufman and Eugene Burger; Published by Kaufman and Greenberg
Illustrator: Richard Kaufman (Cartoons by Greg Tweed)
Hardcover, 138 pages
Image courtesy e-Bay seller CosanostraMagic
Comments (Stewart Tame): The book concerns itself not so much with tricks as with developing a performing persona and creating a unique, personal act. In Burger's own words, the book is "...a series of (I hope) evocative essays that will challenge you, cause you to stop and reflect upon your own magic, inspire you to practice and rehearse, and, in the process, improve your own close-up magic performances."
9 About the Writings
11 Foreword (written by Channing Pollock)
13 1. Groundwork: Burger talks about the purpose of the book.
15 2. What is Close-Up Magic?: Can a performance for a room full of people truly be said to be "close-up"?
19 3. The Main Road: "Don't you think that close-up magic has been sidetracked for many decades now?"
23 4. The Bert Allerton Aspirin Tin Routine: An aspirin tin becomes a magical "camera" that takes a picture of the spectator's card.
34 5. Hands: Your hands are on display in close-up magic--shouldn't you give some thought to their appearance?
38 6. Making Cigarettes Disappear: A. The Pivot Vanish: Imaginary Powder; B. Up the Nose; C. Using a Cigarette Pull. Can one be a non-smoker and still do cigarette magic? Burger explains some sleights and delves into the finer points of using a pull.
49 7. A Question of Character: Who is performing the magic? should you be yourself or a stage persona?
51 8. Uncle Geek: "Uncle Geek is the name I have given to the magical buff (buffoon?) who is constantly adding new tricks to his so-called repertoire, but who never learns to do any of them well."
55 9. Three-Card Monte as a Magical Entertainment: Thee-card Monte routine (assumes reader is already familiar with the standard moves.)
58 10. Magic Lectures: Should "magic lecture" = "explaining tricks"?
61 11. Rosini's Double Reverse: The spectator takes half the cards and the performer the remainder. Each chooses a card from their half and gives it to the other, who inserts it into theirs. The two halves are brought together and the deck spread to reveal the selected cards have mysteriously turned face up.
65 12. Conversation at the Airport: An imaginary dialogue, in which Burger reveals some of his thoughts on the Art of magic.
70 13. The Animated Matchbox: A box of matches stands on end, falls down, and then opens itself on command.
75 14. Performing for Magicians: Burger delves into the reasons behind the oft-heard comment, "I like to perform for laymen, not other magicians."
80 15. Stealing: "Borrowing" routines and patter, not the sleight-of-hand variety.
83 16. Spirit Candle in the Bottle: A birthday candle rises and falls within the neck of a small bottle. When lit it slowly extinguishes itself by dropping down into the neck.
87 17. Books: Burger writes about the usefulness of magic books, and lists some of his favorites.
91 18. Sylvia's Cards: An Excursion Into Bizarre Magick: Wonderfully atmospheric rising card routine with tarot cards.
100 19. Negative Thought: A brief digression on the power of positive thinking.
102 20. The Haunted Pack: Spectator selects a card and returns it to the deck. The deck then cuts itself, revealing the spectator's card.
118 21. Questions and Answers on The Haunted Pack: Some of the finer points of performing The Haunted Pack.
124 22. Daydreaming and Imagination: Burger writes about where he gets his ideas.
126 23. An Imaginary Conversation with Eugene Burger: Another dialogue, in which the main points of the book are recapped.
133 24. A Final Examination: Some soul-searching questions and a bit about the nature of change.