Das Fest


In a room full of strangers, with a man who seems to know everything, we celebrate. In the direct, twisted, beautiful, nitty-gritty reality of human interaction we search for the divine spark of genuine encounter that brings us into the present. We reveal memories and dreams of the guests and find secrets that we choose to keep even from our friends. Most of all we hope: that the party is a success.

Work in Progress Performances.
4., 5. und 6. Oktober 2017, 20:00 Uhr. Galerie Die Schöne, Eintritt frei. Nur nach Voranmeldung: office[at]philippoberlohr.com


Beide Bilder von Gottfried Helnwein, zur Zeit ausgestellt in der Albertina, Wien. Helnwein spielt gerne mit bekannten Formen und gibt ihnen einen Twist. Manchmal witzig (s.o) manchmal beunruhigend (s.u.).
Im Fest wollen wir soziale Konventionen genauer betrachten und mit mind-reading Erlebnissen paaren, die euch die Socken ausziehen. Im übertragenen Sinne. Ausschließlich im übertragenen Sinn.
Das erinnert mich an eine Show im Zillertal. Ein Zuschauerin hat sich die Socken ausgezogen, bevor sie auf die Bühne kam. Ist das jetzt Brauch am Land? Wenn ja, dann werden wir auch diese Konvention untersuchen. Aber nicht so:

Auf keinen Fall so. Nichts im Fest wird so sein. Nie und nimmer.

Eugene Burger

In August 2017 Eugene Burger died. He was a magician from Chicago, born in 1939 and he was… different. I’d like to share some thoughts about him.

When I was 11, I held one of his books in my hands. I didn’t know it was his, I didn’t even know who he was, but I knew this book was special. The dealer told me I was too young for this. Was I?
20 years later I found it again. The Experience of Magic. I have read most of Eugene’s books and I’m looking forward to reading all of them. They are books of magic.

With most magic I wonder: Why? I see it and I constantly ask myself: Why is he doing what he is doing?
I saw Eugene Burger perform in London years ago. I never asked why. I experienced wonder. And I was grinning like a little girl. (To paraphrase Derren Brown.)

Eugene Burger studied theology and his first show was Hauntings, a re-creation of a séance. He inspired me to follow my curiosities and create my version of a séance.

“We want our students to transcend us as teachers.” Wonderful words that painfully remind me of some of my teachers that felt so threatened by their students’ success. Let me threaten those teachers and fulfil his wish.

I shook his hand only once and yet I consider this man to be my mentor.

A good friend of mine texted me once: “I’m having coffee with Eugene Burger, do you have a question for him?”
I didn’t. I thought I’d rather find my own answers.
When I heard of his death, I was sad.
Sad because I knew I could never ask my questions. I realised I had and have so many. It is too late. A beautiful voice lost and gone.

I hope he was not alone, when he died. Having a child makes me think of death a lot. We are not born alone, yet so many need to be alone to go.

“Now I am on the way to the ultimate capital M Mystery of life.” Eugene about his terminal illness.

Rest in peace, you man of wonder.

Schrott im WUK

Little J goes theatre… Freunde machen Theater für junge Menschen. Sehr jung.  1 Jahr +.
Zunächst war ich ein wenig skeptisch. Kinder brauchen wenig, um sich gut selbst zu unterhalten. Unserer zumindest. Theater ein wenig overkill, besonders in diesem jungen Alter?
Ganz und gar nicht. Ich kann es sehr empfehlen. Viel Musik, ein Bühnenbild, das begriffen und erklettert werden kann – und sogar ein kleiner Snack. “More!” sagte Little J. So soll es sein.


P.S. Ich musste an eine Tom Waits Geschichte denken. Er ging in einen Plattenladen und zu seiner Verwunderung erkannte ihn dort niemand. “Any minute now…” – Er wanderte von Stilrichtung zu Stilrichtung, aber nichts. Niemand erkannte Mr Waits.
Tags darauf am Schrottplatz. Innerhalb von 10 Minuten war sein Auto umringt: “Everybody knows me there.”

going home

I’ve been listening to Alice Coltrane’s ‘Going Home’ on repeat in the past weeks.
The theme sounds very familiar, but I can’t place it. Something classical?
I have asked musicians for help, but they did not recognise it.
I have probably listened to it so many times that it sounds familiar now.

Anyway: Listen to this song and see how it changes your surroundings. It takes something that seems boring and dull and fills it with meaning and purpose. Like a strange painting specifically composed for your viewing pleasure.


My wife’s uncle is Kenny Scharf. I’ve had very little exposure to art in my youth, more exposure to nature – different kind of art. So my first response was “Kenny Who?”.
“He’s a painter” my wife said, “he was friends with Keith Haring.” “Keith Who?”.

It was embarrassing.

On the upside: I had the chance to get to know the person first and then slowly discover his work. And it is a huge and impressive body of work.

In a way I got to know him as a painting too. Painted by different people that shine different lights on him. His mother, his brother (my father in law), my mother in law, his children and now his grandchildren.

I have had a chance to see some very early works and therefore something I enjoy a lot: To see the development of an artist. In form and content. To see how certain themes have always been there (though with different focusses), see how techniques have changed. It’s almost like seeing a person grow up: Many things change but a core stays the same.

I’m very impressed to see how he follows his vision and explores the things worth exploring, regardless of public opinion.

What a man. Though his beard scares the sh*t out of our son. You have to suffer for your art. Or someone has.

 Kenny Scharf
(source: www.kennyscharf.com)

I love the born again series:

kenny scharf born again
(source: www.kennyscharf.com)

He’s part of a group exhibition at the Whitney Museum in NY. One more thing that meant nothing to me until now. Baby steps…
When my wife told me, they made him into a character on the Simpsons, for once I was able to say: I’ve heard of the Simpsons.

And the Winner is…

I have been asked to host an Award Ceremony last week. I had never considered doing something like that, but I liked the company, loved the team I was working with and most of all: It was a good cause.

I work with a lot of different companies. One thing is very clear: Every company cares about making money. Good companies care about how they make money. A great company does more.
A great company has a positive impact on the world.

I enjoyed helping to celebrate the employees and their achievements in the past year – most of all the positive impact they had on the world around them. Some of their charity projects are mind-blowing.

Bonus: I had a chance to perform at the Crystal Worlds.

(Source: https://kristallwelten.swarovski.com/Content.Node/images/SKW_Teaser_Store_500x310.jpg?w=500&h=310)

bleibende Eindrücke. maß-geschneiderte Erlebnisse.

In letzter Zeit bekomme ich vermehrt Anfragen für maß-geschneiderte Shows. Eine Retail Group aus Deutschland wollte für ihre Weihnachtsfeier eine Kurzversion von séance. Exakt 15 Minuten lang. 5 Mal.

Das Konzept der Gruppe war umwerfend. Es wurde ein ehemaliges Kraftwerk in Leipzig gemietet und bespielt. Ich war einer der beiden Haupt-Acts, die im Keller übersinnliche Erlebnisse ermöglichten. Meine Bühne war am Ende eines langen, dunklen, feuchten Ganges.
Ein Erlebnis für mich und die Gäste. Die beste Voraussetzung, um bleibende Eindrücke zu schaffen.


“Du bist immer noch tagtäglich (erst heute wurde ich drei mal angesprochen) Gesprächsthema der Kollegen.
Das ist ja schon fast magisch.”

P.S. : Die Kollegen waren Sonambul, eine spannendes Gespann aus Berlin.

‘just kids’

I have read Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’ over Christmas and I loved it.

What a woman. She writes about moving to New York in the late sixties/early seventies. A Woman of little compromise. I love how she works on her craft, tries to find her voice not knowing what her medium is… and finally does. She finds her medium and her voice. It is a wonderful book.

When she moved out of the Chelsea Hotel into a loft with Robert, it made me think of my time in London. I lived in some cheap and – how shall I put it – sub-standard, challenging places?

But I always knew that should the sh*t hit the fan hard, my family would help me out. (Though my parents didn’t go to University, they are pretty middle-class – something that can only happen in Austria. I’m not sure it can still happen here.) I don’t think Ms Smith had that advantage.

I lived in a warehouse in North-East London, Unit M (M for Madness in this case. Though I didn’t know, when I moved in). And I think it’s good to see things in perspective. I had just lived in the Austrian Catholic Centre for 6 months. Very safe, very structured, very… well. I needed a change. So I moved to the hippies. They are also about love, but a different kind of love.

My room didn’t have a window, was a little bigger than a mattress. We had a break-in once and I think the lack of window was the reason they didn’t see me room. They went through most other rooms (with people sleeping in them). Seems cocky and it is, but at the same time it’s not. I lived with 9 other people. You get used to sounds up to the point where people walk through your room and you don’t wake up.

It’s hard to describe the place. I can say I shared a house with a single mother and her son (18 months), a drug dealer, a french hippie in his late forties, a french artist doing spectacular work (and collecting clothes in the studio), a tree doctor.

But that’s only part of it. The little boy Ganesh gave the community structure, his mom was a lovely woman. The drug-dealer was also a DJ, he only sold weed and not after 9pm. “There is a child living here, f*ck off” I remember him telling a desperate customer at 9.05pm. I don’t remember his name and I never knew his last name. Paolo I think. He was a good guy. With principles and a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Tried to get me to smoke with him. But my first weed experience was a bad one, so I’ve been a zero drug path every since. (I did not inhale. I ate the cookie. And vomited my guts out afterwards.)
Paolo was on a mission to change my mind, but he didn’t succeed.

It was fun to live there. And hard. Some nights I came home after work at 10pm with our kitchen full of strangers. One told me once: “Stop cooking man, we’re having a party”. “Who are you? I live here. Go and party somewhere else.”

My girlfriend at the time hated it. Cinzia, the single mother told me that I will marry that girl. And she was right. I did.

Living in Vienna is very different.

I’m currently knee-deep in Patti Smith’s book M Train…