Better Than Coffee: Michael Moschen

Chances are good you’ve seen Michael Moschen at work and didn’t even know it. Often imitated, never duplicated, the world-renowned physical artist choreographed and performed all of Jareth the Goblin King’s “crystal ball manipulations” in Labyrinth.

The phrase contact juggling hadn’t even been coined yet. Moschen was working blind, crouched down behind Bowie, and those spheres really were made out of crystal. (Nowadays you can buy hardy acrylic ones that won’t shatter when you inevitably drop them.) Moschen is widely regarded as one of the most innovative conceptual performers in the biz.

Heads up: if you’re easily distracted/put-off by the sight of a toned, nearly nude body (or your boss is) this first clip may not be for you. If you’re easily distracted/put-off by 80s new age colonic music (as I am), you may want to turn down the sound and cue up the soundtrack of your choice. That said, it’s a hypnotic, singularly beautiful and accomplished performance.

Click here to learn a bit more about just how much effort goes into doing what Moschen makes seem effortless. More mesmerizing clips of the man at work after the jump.

5 Responses to “Better Than Coffee: Michael Moschen”

  1. christiane Says:

    He is fantastic!

  2. Catana Says:

    I discovered Michael Moschen several years ago and immediately bought the VHS tape of his performances. That and Opera Imagininaire are the two main reasons why I haven’t given up my VHS player.

    Too bad the Youtube clips are such bad quality, but at least they’re an intro to an incredible artist.

  3. DJ Velveteen Says:

    Moschen’s a visionary. That WikiHow article nails the first few steps (read: weeks) of contact juggling. But it’s come a long way since 1986 and Labyrinth:

    Okotanpe, the Interweb’s most famous contact juggler:

    His palm-spinning contemporary, Metra:

  4. Tequila Says:

    I tried in vein as a kid to replicate this…it’s indeed quite mesmerizing and I prefer it with the strange 80’s tunes. I think I first saw this (and other such performers) on a PBS show pretty much dedicated to artists like this.

    I had no clue what the headier ideas beyond the visual performance were about at the time…but I enjoyed it none the less. It’s what I love about performers like this…they can simply be enjoyed by anyone. No elitism needed.

    @DJ Velveteen…clearly those people in the clips are employing witchcraft or some sort of elaborate CGI like the government used on 9/11…

    Amazing clips…especially that first one!

  5. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Oh, reliving childhood fantasies of traipsing about the realm of the Labyrinth! Better Than Coffee, indeed. :)