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September 2011| Vol. 9 No. 9 | € 2,50

R eview

Voices of the New Europe

Survival Guides

Vienna Review of Books

On The Town

Keys to the City: getting bike insurance Vienna Circle: friends you haven‘t met yet

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe | In The Garden of Beasts | Extinction | Romale!

The arts in advance: The season of string quartets, opera & the Viennale film festival

Pages 5, 27

Pages 17–32

Pages 7–10

At Sarajevo’s Film Festival, politics trumps glamour

Party politics The festival’s most visible success is in turning Sarajevo into a big party: Beyond the Continued on page 6

Media Monitor

The summer’s most salient debates translated from the German-speaking media. In the Mail, page 2

Special Report: Remembering the Berlin Wall

Fifty years after construction began, Berliners reflect on how the Wall did and did not keep them apart.

Special Report, page 4

Kids in the City: Intensive Care

The Love Letter (1875) by Hans Makart, currently on display at the Belvedere

€ 2,50

Photo: Belvedere

Hans Makart’s Vienna Twin exhibitions re-examine the forgotten legacy of a modernist who once defined the arts and culture of the imperial city Every age has its artistic enfants terribles, whose fortunes wax and wane with the fashions of the time. From the 1860s to the 1880s, Hans Makart took the showrooms from Paris to Vienna by storm, scandalising audiences with luscious nudes whose faces resembled wellknown society ladies. A universal artist, he was in demand everywhere, designing stage sets and costumes, facades and interiors, and orchestrating the anniversary parade for the Emperor’s Silver Wedding. A generation later, however, he was forgotten, eclipsed by the vogue of Jugendstil artists such as Klimt and Kokoschka. Now, a major twin-exhibition at the Belvedere and the Wien Museum in the Kün-

stlerhaus takes another look at the fallen star, affording an insight into “pre-Jugendstil” Vienna that is equally revealing and rare: the last major Makart exhibition took place almost forty years ago, in 1972, at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany. The two venues approach the artist from complementary directions: while the Künstlerhaus exhibition “An Artist Rules the City” examines the social and political context of Makart’s Vienna, the show at the Belvedere, “Painter of the Senses”, traces his aesthetic innovations through a comparison with his contemporaries. The conclusions are perhaps surprising: Makart’s titillating, mythological style,

News Briefs

Windows to the Mind

A summary of the most current and significant in Austria, Central Europe and Europe. pages 4, 6, 11

Generation Pratikum

Interns are caught in a legal grey area. With no collective agreement and few rights, they are at the mercy of employers. A new study casts a light on the practice in Austria. Austria, page 5

Rebelling Without A Cause The Vienna Review Published in Vienna P.b.b. 00Z000000 M Verlagspostamt: 1010 Wien laufende Nummer 53/2011

The riots in England are symptomatic of a wider European problem: cuts on the continent threaten further unnrest. Europe, page 11

The second installment of Psychology in Vienna shows how researchers use virtual reality as a therapy tool. Ideas & Trends, page 4

Better off alone

The EU bailout for Greece is more a burden than a boon, says former ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos. Voices of Others, page 15


Otto Habsburg’s funeral; Europe’s power grids; Vienna’s street furniture; ORF “reelects” its director, with conspicuous consensus Commentary, pages 14-15

was not Romantic, but modernist. “He was completely unconcerned with the subject,” says the Belvedere’s curator Alexander Klee. “His interest was in the composition and the colours.” Moreover, Makart’s engagement with the modern disciplines of design also highlights his progressive thrust, illustrated by the 400 objects on display at the Künstlerhaus. As such, the current Makart exhibitions offer a challenging corrective to the frequent painting of Gründerzeit Vienna with the same brush. See a full review in On The Town on page 20 See exhibition details in Vienna Events on page 24

A Conversation with Allan Janik

Author of Wittgenstein’s Vienna, on nearly everybody’s short shelf of most important books on the cultural history of the city at the turn of the century, and also a courageous work of philosophical rethink that restored the importance of context – of time and milieu – to the understanding of ideas. Kaffeehaus, page 32

The Grätzl: In the Freihaus Viertel

One of Vienna’s oldest autonomous districts has become a magnet for galleries, eateries and a bohemian crowd. We give you a way in. On The Town, page 21

by Sissy Carlisle Moving to a new city in a new country is often exhilarating for an independent professional. But for parents with small children it can be a nightmare, entailing an alien care system and the absence of the usual support from grandparents and trusted nannies. For children, the experience of lacking a common language with their peers can be isolating and discouraging. Yet in Vienna, city authorities have sought to ease the transition for parents and young children. To notable effect: The Mercer Study, assessing the liveability of world cities for those facing an international job transfer, ranked Vienna first in 2009 and 2010. Among the ten categories evaluated by the

study are schools and education, as well as public services. Specifically, it is in the provision of public childcare that the city’s policies have been the most radical, and the most innovative: In 2009, the city introduced its Wiener Fördermodell 1+1 (“Support Plan 1+1”), offering free monitoring and advancing of pre-school children’s competencies, including language, speech and motor skills. Subsequently, Claudia Schmied, the Social Democratic Minister for Education, raised the federal spending on language skills in early childhood education ten fold, from €500,000 a year to €5m for every Austrian state, including Vienna. That same year, the Continued on page 5

Lawyer, diplomat & art lover Christoph Thun-Hohenstein wants to reinvent the MAK and lead it into the 21st century

Renaissance Man by Laurence Doering New York, summer 2007. After eight years as director of the Austrian Cultural Forum, the government’s flagship for promoting Austrian contemporary art in America, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein had clearly won over the city’s cultural elite, not to mention his own staff. Observing him as a summer intern, it was easy to see why. Unusual for an institution’s director, he had the mercurial tendency to pop up anywhere in the building, at any hour of the night or day, rolling up

his sleeves to hang artwork in the exhibition space, showing up at the Forum’s electronic music nights, or helping with a sound-check in the minute, yet exquisite, blonde-wood concert hall. As Thun-Hohenstein strides into the sun-soaked non-smokers’ lounge at the Café Prückel – directly opposite the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, or MAK, Vienna’s museum for applied arts which he heads from this month - I am instantly reminded of our Continued on page 4

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Pages 21–28

Free public kindergartens serve children and parents, and rival private providers

Screens of Change by Laurence Doering The bar of Kino Kriterion is brimming with people; the cool of its chessboard floor tiles and monochromatic, 1960s interior is matched by the crowd: little black dresses, angular haircuts, scarlet lipstick. This invitation-only reception could almost be taking place at the Berlinale, were it not for the cheap high-heels and unpretentious atmosphere. There are other differences too: the Sarajevo Film Festival still has a newcomer’s urge for recognition by the international film world, epitomized by this year’s unintelligible honorary award for Angelina Jolie. It need not be so: Sarajevo’s annual festival, staged this year from 22 to 30 July, has itself been around since 1995, and its implications are much more profound than those of the jaded festivals of Cannes or Venice: the Sarajevo Film Festival was founded to “recreate the civil society of the city” after a fratricidal war which split Bosnia into a Serbian part, and a Croatian and Muslim part, united under a shaky – and currently absent – federal government. Through its fund for cross-border collaborations and its competition screenings of documentary, short, and feature films from South Eastern Europe - including Austria, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta, alongside the Balkan countries - the festival has sought to counter the region’s fragmentation. But how much can a film festival really do to reconcile Bosnia’s torn society?

Vienna Events

The definitive guide to theatre, concerts, art, food & nightlife this September

03.09.11 20:13

06.09.2011 23:03:33 Uhr


In the Mail

The Vienna Review September 2011

Media Monitor Terrorism’s Right Hand

Metternich and Terror See also Austria News Briefs

NEWS, Nr.30, Jul. 28

Terror in Norway: Opinions Andreas Mölzer, FPÖ Member of Parliament: “The Norway tragedy is an act of insanity. Anybody trying to cash in on this event politically should be ashamed. Now the FPÖ has to listen to the Left accusing it of providing the ideological breeding ground for such madness. Why is it our fault if this mass murderer refers to Islamic fundamentalism? It would be equally untenable to say the SPÖ lays the ground for such tragedies by supporting mass immigration and tolerance for Islamic fundamentalism. However, I do see merit in the idea of reducing the level of aggression in political debate. A brutalized language creates an aggressive atmosphere. But the Left and the Right have to disarm simultaneously. We want that to happen. Does anybody think I enjoy being called a Nazi all the time?” Gerhard Botz, historian: “The FPÖ recognizes that hate-preachers help prepare the terrorist attacks of Islamic fundamentalists. So why should the reverse not also be true?”

Die Presse, Jul. 25

Michael Fleischhacker: One simply has to move on to business as usual “Any attempt to point at the sources of a psychopath’s confused fantasies in order to discredit one’s political opponents is tantamount to exploiting the victims. This has begun with the publication of [Anders Breivik’s] 1500page “manifesto” [which reveals] the hubs tapped by the 32-year-old’s sick personality for material to satisfy his uncontrolled power fantasies. […] Whoever scans Breivik’s “manifesto” won’t read much that one couldn’t find in online postings to everyday politics, internationally. […] Among those who let their hair down in those postings, are many who lead honourable, civil lives in the real world. One should trust that violent excesses, like the ones in Oslo and Utøya, lead to a degree of self-reflection. To denounce people who are struggling to cope with the social changes wrought by immigration and cultural globalization as inciters to terrorism doesn’t solve the problem. One can only move on to business as usual. And the first priority of that business should be to ask how debates about the chances and risks inherent in our new social realities can be transferred from the aggressive anonymity of the virtual world back into political discourse.”

Der Standard, Jul. 26

Hans Rauscher: Myths from Oslo “When [a killer] has commented extensively on politics - by announcing the “saving of Europe from cultural Marxism and islamization”; by rote-reciting the classical canon of right-wing extremists, Christian fundamentalists, and EU-haters; by obsessively lecturing on the Ottoman Siege of Vienna of 1683; by referring to Europe’s “anti-foreigner parties”, incl. the FPÖ […] - then one may infer that this man has also been influenced by the agitation of anti-immigration parties and media. No, one may not. At least not according to the Editor in Chief of Die Presse [see above]. […] So, to trace the killer’s ideological roots is a no-no for the conservative Presse. Its Editor would rather coolly “move on to business as usual” – so that Strache, Wilders and Co. aren’t held to account?”


NEWS, Nr.30, Jul.28

Terror in Norway: Opinions Johanna Mikl-Leitner, ÖVP, Minister of Interior: “[The Norway attacks] were the doing of a lone perpetrator. Only a fifth of the crimes committed by [Austrian] right-wing extremists can be attributed to the organized scene; the rest to the un-organized one. In our assessment, there is currently no threat to Austria, but we can’t exclude the possibility of copycat crimes. […] The security services must be given the instruments to identify suspected individuals in advance. […] If there are no indications for a crime, the data will, of course, be deleted, to avoid turning people’s private lives into “glass houses”. But: data protection may not turn into terror protection.”

Die Zeit, Jul. 28

Joachim Riedl: Heimat and Terror “Already at his first appearance in court, Breivik claimed that […] his comrades in the ‘Vienna School of Thought’ would soon follow his example, to repel the current Third Ottoman Siege. […] While Scandinavians intend to confront the racist terror in their country with an offensive of democratic virtues, the government in Vienna plans to give in to the pressure of the Minister of Interior and take another step towards a surveillance state by reinforcing antiterror laws. This, too, could be called the Vienna School of Thought.”

The Homecoming by Dardis McNamee Editor in Chief The paper you hold in your hands is historic! This is the first issue of the New Vienna Review, now in partnership with the Falter Verlag, forming The Vienna Review Publishing GmbH, and launching this small, non-profit paper into the larger world of professional publishing in Austria. It is a good time. Vienna is more international than ever. Thirty-three per cent of Viennese today are foreign born. Most of these foreigners, who have made a home in Austria, have long involved stories to tell: often byzantine sagas about professional goals or the longing for adventure, of loves found and lost, languages butchered, loyalties tested –about new challenges, and old fears. And along the way, small victories, new insights and gradually, a feeling of belonging. One of these stories is my story. And thus it was, on a sunny afternoon in early June, that I made my way over to the courtyard of Vienna City Hall for the Fest der neuen WienerInnen – the Celebration of new Austrian citizens who live in Vienna.

Gender Justice Die Zeit, Aug 4.

Maria Sterkl: The judiciary is female Men no longer set the tone in the Austrian judiciary: the majority of judges are female. […] At the beginning of the 80s, less than one in ten judges was female (in the Tyrol only one in twenty). Ten years ago, the proportion of women stood at 35%. Today, it is 51%, and among judges in training even 68%. […] But the higher proportion of female judges is not celebrated as a further landmark in women’s emancipation. [Political scientist Birgitt Haller says that] “In our society, every profession which employs a lot of women becomes devalued.” Declining respect for the judiciary would have fatal consequences. […] Charlotte Schillhammer, [Vice-President of the Judges’ Association], observes a “sad development”: “in any field that many women push into, the men withdraw.” Similarly, Barbara Helige [a judge at the commercial court, Handelsgericht, in Vienna] views the smaller proportion of men as “worrying”: “it is a cause for concern when a part of the population feels increasingly unrepresented by the judiciary.” But the judiciary, too, has a glass ceiling […]: the higher levels of jurisdiction are still more likely to be the preserves of men, especially the highest courts. Women make up less than a third of the full members at the constitutional court [Verfassungsgerichtshof]; at the supreme administrative court [Verwaltungsgerichtshof] the proportion of women is even a dire 19%. “You will take my wife’s side anyway,” men sometimes say to Helige [who often deals with divorced couples in her court]. Perhaps women facing male judges have a similar feeling. “But they would never say so.”


eview is a journal of news and opinion covering the life and times of Vienna, Austria and the wider Central European region, ten times a year. Published by: The Vienna Review Publishing GmbH, Marc-Aurel Straße 9, 1010 Vienna, Austria. T: +43-1-536 60-0, F: +43-1-536 60-912. Editorial Office: T: +43-1-536 60-612, E: Subscription service: T: +43-1-536 60-928, E:

Editor in Chief, Publisher, Director, Vienna Journalism Institute: Dardis McNamee. Managing Editor: Laurence Doering. Associate Editor: Cristina Rotaru. Austrian News Editor: John Hodgshon. City Editor: Sara Friedman. Book Reviewers: Mary Albon, David Warren. On the Town Editor: Cynthia Peck. Scenes Editor: Grigory Borodavkin. Contributing Writers: Stanley Hale, Saleha Waqar. Editors at Large: MTM Childs, Christian Cummins, Mazin Elfehaid, Matthias Wurz. Assistant to the Publisher: Jodi Keen. Jazz and Film Critic: Phillip Ellison. Psychology in Vienna: Krista Rothchild. Nights at the Opera: Oliver MacDonald. All that Jazz: Jean-Pascal Vachon. Stones of Vienna: Duncan J.D. Smith. Notes from Nature: S.R. Hughes. Photographers: David Reali, Lauren Brassaw. Illustrators: Judann Weichselbraun, Katharina Klein. Produced by: Falter Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Marc-Aurel-Straße 9, 1010 Wien, Layout: Marion Großschädl, Raphael Moser. Proof Readers: Cynthia Peck, Christopher Anderson, Peter Diller. Advertising Manager: Sigrid Johler, T: +43-1-536 60-952, E: johler@ Advertising Coordinator: Franz Krassnitzer, T: +43-1-536 60-940, E: Subscription service: Birgit Bachinger, T: +43-1-536 60-928, E: Managing Director: Siegmar Schlager. Distribution & Retail: Morawa. P.b.b., Verlagspostamt: 1011 Wien. All rights reserved.

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From the Editor

Editor Dardis McNamee

Photo: AnuKoruma

The Vienna Review Letters to the Editor An Open letter to Viviane Reding and Thomas Hammarberg EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe Dear Commissioners, On Jul. 12, Hungary’s Parliament passed a “church law” depriving over 100 religious denominations of their official status, in blatant violation of the freedom and equality of religions enshrined in Art. 10 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Art. 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Only fourteen Christian and Jewish denominations retained their recognition as official churches and the rights that come with it. All the Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu congregations were denied accreditation, along with the Methodist, Pentecostal, and Adventist churches, the Salvation Army, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Reform Judaism, to name but a few. Many of the now de-registered churches have been leaders in providing social services for the homeless, the elderly and the poor, as well as supporting marginalised groups such as Roma and prison inmates. Overnight, these services were stripped of their lawful subsidies, paving the way to a social disaster. Similarly, many of the cast-out churches have been running successful schools which will now be denied accreditation. Most worryingly, the new church law undoes the separation of religious and political institutions achieved in Hungary’s democratic transition twenty years ago. To re-gain recognition, ostracized churches will have to sub-

It was a mild day, and people arrived in dresses and suits straight from work, some 400 in all, and found their way in under the large tent covering one end of the open square, past the dozens of tables decked in linen and crystal for a gala dinner, and onwards into the Volkshalle at the far end. Ushers guided them to long rows stretching out to fill the ceremonial hall, where they took their places by district. The invitation had gone out to over 2,000 people – all Viennese who had become Austrian citizens between May of 2010 and May 2011. Stricter laws had meant many fewer citizenships in 2010, down 20% in Austria over 2009. But the first 6 months of 2011 were already double the same period the previous year. So maybe things are easing up again. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way to those on the receiving end. The stories always involve Kafkaesque tales of lost documents, changing regulations and contradictory advice, of one office telling applicants the exact opposite of what they were told in another. And always, always, always one more piece of paper. My own tale involved a lost passport in a stolen handbag, and new rules that appeared to deny even a copy of the permanent visa I already had. Hundreds of hours of paperwork, applications, appointments, documents and support letters, changes of status, new forms, new categories, and endless hours of time. That it should have ended so well is joy indeed. Now as we launch this new venture, we find ourselves in another tangle, as the visa rules for foreign correspondents in Austria do not seem to apply to us. These are ancient privileges afforded all members of the foreign press working in the country with the oldest press association in the world – the Presseclub Concordia – that celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. We are an Austrian newspaper in English, that by definition needs the language and cultural skill of international journalists, and therefore there is no “by the book” for us. Still, foreigners here learn how to solve problems. We’ll figure out how to solve this one too. Because this is part of being at home in Vienna.

mit a request signed by at least one thousand declared supporters, in clear violation of privacy rights. A government minister will then “evaluate” their religious creeds, and must seek authorization from the secret services. Should a request pass the assessment, it will be sent to Parliament, where a twothirds majority is required to grant official church status. The right to judicial overview is denied in this process, while any religious groups that have not been in existence for at least twenty years are automatically excluded. The passage of this law is only the latest disturbing example of the many serious setbacks regarding human rights and the rule of law that have occurred recently in Hungary. In the 1970s, under the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, all we could do in similar situations was hold vigils at sites of worship that had been shut down or demolished. We fought for a Europe that is united under human rights. Have our hopes been in vain? We sincerely urge you to start an official inquiry into Hungary’s new Church Law, and its violation of rights possessed by all Europeans. Budapest, Aug. 8, 2011, signed by Gabor Demszky, Mayor of Budapest 19902010, founder of AB Publishing House Miklós Haraszti, Columbia Law School adj. professor, founder of journal Beszélő György Konrád, writer, former President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Art Ferenc Kőszeg, former MP, founding president, Hungarian Helsinki Committee Bálint Magyar, former MP, fmr. Minister of Education, VP, Committee EU Programmes László Rajk Jr., former MP, founder of the Samizdat Boutique Publishing House and 38 other members of the 1970s Human Rights and Democracy Movement in Hungary See for further details.

06.09.2011 22:59:58 Uhr

Special Report

The iron poles of the Wall memorial on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin. A park where children play in the shadow of where the Wall once stood. 

The fiftieth anniversary of the first bricks that divided Berlin: The memory of a painful generation of fear and separation

Remembering the Wall by Izvor Moralic “It went up brick by brick,” says a blonde woman, her eyes red as she recalls the scene she witnessed as a little girl fifty years ago. “From time to time, people on the other side waved to us.” She stops to stare down Bernauer Strasse. “My uncle lived here, they came to his home and walled up his windows. Imagine that. Someone comes into your room and does that to you.” Opposite her, Gisela Kurz, a student at the time, also recalls Aug. 13, 1961, the day the construction of the Berlin Wall began. “I heard it on the radio with my husband,” she says. “All we felt was a terrifying sense of helplessness.” Several hours earlier, the governing Socialist Unity Party (SED) of the German Democratic Republic had given the order for the construction of a physical barrier to stop the massive westward emigration of its citizens. By the Wall’s completion, some 3.5 million East Germans had already fled to the West. A barbed wire fence at first, the barrier would evolve into a concrete wall engulfing all 155 kilometres of West Berlin’s border with the East. The 43 kilometres of the border between the Allied and Soviet sectors split the city in two for the next 28 years, transforming Berlin and Europe into opposing realities of the Cold War. East-Berliners were cut off from facilities in the West, families and friends were separated for a generation. “We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Kurz remembers. “The West didn’t react at first and West Germany wasn’t allowed to say anything. Then in October, the tanks came, and we thought ‘Now, we are in for it’.” Soviet and American tanks were literally faced off at Checkpoint Charlie, perhaps the most famous of the border-crossings between West and East Berlin. Today, Aug. 13, 2011, the fiftieth anniversary of the Wall’s construction, remembrance is being paid to the separation that the city endured for nearly three decades. The former site of the Wall here at Bernauer Strasse bears little resemblance to the death strip it was until 1989: transformed into a memorial site, it shows the outlines of the torn-down houses and watchtowers, while along the former length of the border, iron poles reach skywards. People pass through them absent-mindedly. Leaning closely, a Spanish-speaking couple try to decipher the term Fluchttunnel inscribed on steel stepping stones that map out the former site of an escape tunnel. Indeed, the remaining three-and-a-half metre high slabs of gray concrete seem oddly out of place here. Visitors, both local and international, stop to inspect the rusted steel protruding from the crumbling cement. Some are wearing football jerseys from home: Hannover 96, Werder Bremen, Atletico Madrid, Corinthians Sao Paulo. The morning had belonged to the German president, Christian Wulff, and the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, on an open-air stage.

“The Wall poised itself against its own people, it was an expression of fear... But in the end it was proven that freedom is invincible,” Wulff said in his speech. “The story of the end of the Wall can inspire us, for it was written by the people. The Wall did not fall, it was knocked over.” But Wulff was also critical, reminding the attendees that the West often looked away when injustice was committed in the GDR. “There was a certain amount of moral and intellectual convenience. Wrongs committed on the Left caused much less outrage than wrongs committed on the Right. The Nicaraguan Sandinistas received more sympathy than East German civil rights advocates.” Klaus Wowereit reprimanded all those who soften the past and look at the Wall with an air of nostalgia. “There are no good reasons and no justifications” for the many victims of the Wall and the division of a city, the mayor said. At noon, the crowd held a minute of silence to pay respect to the victims of the Wall. In fact, the whole city stood still: public transport stopped in the city for one minute at twelve o’clock sharp, shops and businesses also allowed their employees to join the remembrance, although many emphasized that participation was not mandatory. In front of the central stage people stood quietly, some lowering their heads, some looking lost, out of place. The silence was interrupted by the intonation of the German national anthem sung by a local choir, and the people stood at ease again. Aug. 13 meant drastic changes in the relations between the two German states. Travel between East and West was not re-granted to West Berliners until 1963 and required a valid visa, since the GDR did not recognize West German passports. Travel to the West was only granted to senior citizens, professionals travelling on official matters, and people attending to serious family matters. In practice, chances of receiving permission to travel were slim, and if granted, only a limited number of East German Marks could be exchanged into their Western equivalent. Hence Begrüssungsgeld was established, welcome money that was given out by the West German government to those who managed to pass from the East into the West. On Bernauer Strasse, plaques embedded in the street bear witness to those who were barred from crossing: 24.08.1961, Flight, Max W.; 17.08.1961, Flight, Ms. K. with Child; 30.09.1961, Attempted flight and arrest, Bernd B. Further inside the park on Bernauer Strasse, a wall of remembrance hosts the pictures of all victims of the inner German border. Not all fell victim to the Schiessbefehl, the order to fire given to the East German border guards. Some were simply victims of the unwillingness or inability of both sides to cooperate in the divided city. On May 11, 1975, the five-year-old Cetin Mert fell into the Spree River that runs through Ber-

September 2011


Photo: Izvor Moralic

lin, and which at that time was part of the borHere again, assistance came from outside der between East and West Berlin. Two border Germany. To ensure safe passage for himself and guards on the East saw the child fall into the wa- the documents, Veigel relied on a Syrian friend, ter, but since they were not allowed to leave their who transported the passports from West to East. posts without notification and had no means of “Syria was a socialist state like the GDR; he was communicating with their superiors, they were thus never searched. We would then meet again reduced to witnesses. an hour later in the East and when we hugged The alerted West German rescue teams ar- each other, he would put the passports into my rived on the scene within minutes, but as so pocket.” Veigel would then go meet the escapees many times before, they were not allowed to and distribute the documents. enter the river, which across its entire width was To the side of the stage, a hand-written poster East German territory. Requests by the teams to reads, “Looking for my escape partner! Fled on deploy divers were rejected by the East. Finally, Oct. 27, 1961, corner of Bernauer and Ackermore than an hour after the child was last seen, strasse. Should be around 68 years old.” Below the East German authorities dispatched a res- it the details of the flight are briefly recounted cue boat that retrieved the body of the drowned “From the house on Ackerstr. 41 over two roofs, child. He was the last of five children to drown then descended onto the flat roof, then at 9:15 in the river. Later the same year, the two German into the safety-net from the 3rd floor.” Then the sides agreed on allowing emergency measures in writer’s cell-phone number and the note, “I am the border waters. only here for the day!” “Are they all dead?” enty-eight “The Wall poised itself against yearsTwlater, a child asks his mother, on Nov. as he turns away from 9, 1989, confusion its own people, it was an the memorial wall. He again. “There expression of fear,” Wulff said. reigned darts off across the grass was a stream of people “But in the end it was proven coming towards me. field before she can give an answer. It is four I didn’t understand, I that freedom is invincible.” in the afternoon and was the only one gopeople sit in the shade ing in the opposite provided by the remains of the Wall. A father is direction, from West to East,” Joachim Wruttke dragged over to another site, where the founda- recalls. He did not realize at the time that what tions of a guard house, can be seen. “And what is he was witnessing was the opening of the border that?” his daughter asks. “Some sort of ditch, the between East and West. Hours before, at a press same thing as over there,” he answers. conference, the SED official Günther Schabowski On the central stage, Burkhart Veigel ex- read a note handed to him which announced that plains how he and his associates assisted the es- all East Berliners would be allowed to pass the cape of East Berliners into the West with foreign border without prior permission. Asked when passports. The East German authorities were not it would come into effect, a visibly confused allowed to monitor foreigners as strictly as they Schabowski shuffled through his papers, turning did the West Germans, who sometimes had to the note around in his hands, and said, “As far endure body searches. Foreign passports were as I know, effective immediately, without delay.” thus a much-sought commodity. Thus, in a muddle of a miscommunication, the “The biggest problem we had was: How do twenty-eight years of separation came to an end. you explain away a Swede who doesn’t speak a Wruttke stops and smiles sheepishly, as if takword of Swedish, but can speak flawless Berlin- ing in the small crowd of awe-stricken faces that ian?” he asks with a smirk. The crowd bursts has gathered around him for the first time. “My into laughter. At one point, he says, they had father said to me, ‘They will hang all of them.’” six hundred foreign passports. “The foreigners he chuckles. The listening group stands transwere much more generous in giving up their fixed. “But the border police just stood there like documents than the West Germans. They never this,” he crosses his arms in front of his body asked ‘Is this legal?’ while the West Germans al- and stands still for a few seconds. He breaks his ways asked, ‘What if the Russians come?’ The pose and looks around at the faces staring at him foreigners just thought there were people in need intently, then it dawns on him. whom they had to help.” The donated passports “You’re not from Berlin?” he asks. “No, from and identity cards then had to be distributed to Würzburg,” one of them answers. Today, that potential escapees in the East. might as well be worlds away.

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The Vienna Review

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06.09.2011 23:00:02 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011


The MAK’s new director Christoph Thun-Hohenstein at Café Prückel opposite the museum Renaissance Man Continued from front page chance encounters in the Forum’s corridors. His towering height, at 2 metres, is toned down by his calm demeanour and unexcited, yet impeccable, appearance: grey suit trousers, white shirt, grey chequered sports jacket. He is softspoken, yet intensely focused, leaning forward in his wicker chair and fixing me in his gaze as we speak. He has squeezed our conversation in between meetings at the museum, yet talks to me for over an hour. As in New York, he is everywhere at once, but also forcefully present. A mood of departure “There’s a fantastic climate,” Thun-Hohenstein says of Vienna’s contemporary cultural scene. “Even compared to New York, I’m overwhelmed by the multitude and variety of exhibitions and events going on here.” He points to Vienna’s high-profile scenes in fashion, visual design – especially the visualisation of music – as well as architecture. The city is enjoying an “Aufbruchstimmung”, a mood of optimism and departure, he says, stressing the German word although we are speaking in English. Well-managed public funding significantly contributed to the current upswing, Thun-Hohenstein believes: already in the 1990s, the City of Vienna started Unit F, a funding body for fashion design, followed by Departure in 2003, a broader funding and networking agency for the creative industries. Thun-Hohenstein successfully applied for the top job at Departure when he returned from New York in 2007. “I sensed that this was an institution that allowed me to contribute to positive change, to develop the city in crucial areas such as fashion, visual arts, new media, and other disciplines.” Soft power This sense of public service may have been honed by Thun-Hohenstein’s years in the Austrian foreign office, which he joined after studying law and politics, alongside history of art. After postings in Ivory Coast, Switzerland and Germany, he served as chief lawyer negotiating Austria’s EU membership. His book Europarecht – “European Law” - published in 2005, is now in its sixth edition and remains the standard Austrian text on the topic. But Thun-Hohenstein’s love for the arts always accompanied his diplomatic work: “I decided to become a diplomat in order, sooner or later, to have a function in the field of culture,” he told The New York Times in 2007. Already as a schoolboy at the prestigious Akademisches Gymnasium in the 3rd District, he publicly recited his poetry. A passionate music lover, he today owns a CD collection of over 6,000 discs. His interest in the arts and diplomacy were finally reconciled with his appointment as director of the Austrian Cultural Forum. Today, Thun-Hohenstein’s international experience conversely defines his approach to cultural work. “There’s a lot of competition in this world, and there are plenty of cities that put lots of efforts into [developing their creative industries],” he cautions. “You can never lean back and say ‘it’s been achieved’, because the world is moving faster than ever. You have to be open to new developments, exchange views, and give

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your very best.” Accordingly, Thun-Hohenstein will continue working with the MAK Centre Los Angeles, the museum’s overseas outlet. He also wants to “make Europe more visible as a cultural force, as this is very dear to me,” he says, alluding to his work towards EU integration as a diplomat. Living tradition This global outlook is refreshing in a city like Vienna, known for resting on the laurels of a bygone grandeur. To Thun-Hohenstein, however, it is precisely the tension between tradition and modernity that “makes a formidable city.” “Aufbruchstimmung also means dealing with the cultural achievements of the past,” he says, “but by looking towards the future and worldwide developments, and asking what we can contribute.” Reworking tradition in light of the present is how Thun-Hohenstein made a name for himself in New York, where he commissioned electronic

Photo: David Reali

artist Christian Fennesz to remix Mahler, or celebrated Freud’s 150th anniversary with an exhibition of New York cartoons on psychoanalysis. Now he wants to bring this talent to the MAK, which houses the world’s largest collection of modernist furniture and the archive of the Wiener Werkstätte, the legendary Jugendstil design collective. “To my knowledge there has never been an exhibition that has traced the antagonism between Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffman,” he muses, “all the way from the origins, through their followers, to the present.” It is living tradition that interests Thun-Hohenstein, in constant confrontation with the new. The spirit of the times But harnessing the MAK’s memory to examine the present is just one part of ThunHohenstein’s larger vision: “It’s a museum dealing with change,” he says, taking a sip from a slender glass of water, having turned down coffee. “Bringing the MAK into the 21st century,”

therefore, means advancing trends in the applied arts through the museum’s “laboratory function,” which includes its designer in residence programme, or the creation of a “lab series” showcasing work in progress, such as the evolution of intelligent or ecological fashion. Above all, however, it means “asking what contemporary art and design can contribute to making a better society.” This, after all, is what applied art is about today. But wasn’t that the big idea of the last century, I interject, as figures such as Le Corbusier or Walter Gropius attempted – and failed - to save humanity through architecture? Thun-Hohenstein nods, but answers “we live in a different world. Today, designers can’t just impose their solutions on others. We live in a world of crowdsourcing.” On cue, I ask him what he thinks of crowdsourcing the museum’s exhibition programme. He emits a short, incredulous chuckle, but then surprises me with a well-developed reply: he will start off his directorship with a big, public brainstorming on the MAK’s future. To make sure everybody starts on the same page, an exhibition this autumn will succinctly document the genesis of the MAK’s collections. Additionally, there will be lunch-time panel discussions about the museum’s future direction. The public will be invited to attend and comment. “That is also a form of crowd-sourcing,” Thun-Hohenstein points out. In February and March, the MAK leadership will present its preliminary mid- and long-term plans, and submit them to another round of public discussions. “Then we will have a much broader basis for our planning,” ThunHohenstein concludes. “That is the spirit of the times.” But this new zeitgeist of transparency can’t quite be divorced from the MAK’s recent past: Thun-Hohenstein’s predecessor, Peter Noever, who had led the museum since 1986, was sacked in February after chartered accountants revealed he had diverted €173,000 by hosting his mother’s birthday parties at the museum’s expense. “I have a different style,” Thun-Hohenstein comments dryly. “Peter Noever is a designer,” which accounts for his determination to run the museum his way, while “I have always been a team player.” Judging by Thun-Hohenstein’s protean activities back in New York, and the way he invariably stopped to ask a lowly intern how he was doing, the MAK’s new director has the many talents needed to lead the museum out of its recent mire and into the 21st century.

Austria Briefs Telekom Scandal Grows The growing corruption scandal surrounding Telekom Austria (TA), the country’s largest telecommunications firm, claimed its most high profile victim when Wolfgang Schüssel (People’s Party, ÖVP) stepped down as Member of Parliament on Sept. 5. While claiming ignorance, the former Chancellor had come under pressure after members of his ÖVP-BZÖ (Union for Austria’s Future) coalition government from 2003 to 2007 were accused of accepting money in return for favouring TA in allocating public sector contracts and regulating public utilities. The allegations were made by Gernot Schieszler, a former CFO at TA, who has offered himself to public prosecutors as a “crown witness” in order to mitigate his own sentence for his role in the affair. Suspicions of wide-ranging bribery by TA, engulfing the ÖVP, FPÖ (Freedom Party), and BZÖ, first emerged when prosecutors stumbled upon dubious invoices when investigating the unrelated “BUWOG affair” regarding the privatisation of public housing, in 2008.

Prison for FPÖ politician On Aug. 2, the provincial court of Klagenfurt convicted Uwe Scheuch, the Deputy Governor of Carinthia and chairman of the Carinthian branch of the FPÖ, to 18 months in prison, six without probation, for accepting gifts in public office. Scheuch was caught on tape in early 2009 telling a business partner that a Russian investor could expect Austrian citizenship in exchange for a party donation as “obviously part

of the game,” sparking the so-called “part of the game affair” when the tape was leaked to News magazine in Jan. 2010. Scheuch has appealed against the verdict and refuses to step down as Deputy Governor until the ruling of the next and final court of appeal, the provincial high court in Graz, which is expected by the end of the year. Meanwhile, FPÖ figures vociferously attacked the verdict, with party leader HeinzChristian Strache claiming Scheuch had been the victim of a “political trial”.

Proposed anti-terror law Austria’s Ministers of Justice and the Interior, Beatrix Karl (ÖVP) and Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP), clarified plans for a new anti-terror law in late Aug. The law would extend police powers to search databases held online and by foreign intelligence agencies relating to individual suspects, rather than just groups of at least three as is currently the case, and would make inciting or even approving of terrorist acts a crime. The ÖVP faces resistance from its coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), who fears an infringement of human and civil rights anchored in the constitution. The opposition parties have expressed similar concerns, ahead of an expected discussion in Parliament this October.

Libyan Assets in Austria The Austrian government is looking for ways to free up €1.2 billion in frozen Libyan assets held in Austrian commercial banks.

Alexander Schallenberg, spokesperson for the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, told The Vienna Review that the Ministry was applying to the United Nations Sanctions Committee to grant a partial release of the funds, and expected its approval by mid-September. The Ministry is seeking to commit the funds to the maintenance of the Libyan Embassy in Vienna and the creation of scholarships for Libyan students at Austrian universities, as assets can only be unfrozen for a specific purpose according to the UN Committee’s rules. The greater part of the assets, belonging to the Libyan Central Bank, the Libyan Investment Authority, several Libyan companies, and 26 Gaddafi associates and frozen in March, will remain under lock until they are claimed by the Libyan successor government.

Clerical Disobedience Austrian Catholic priest Helmut Schüller, formerly General Vicar of Vienna and President of Caritas, has called for massive reforms within the Roman Catholic Church, going so far as to appeal to the Pope. Schüller’s formal “Call for Disobedience” (Aufruf zum Ungehorsam) is supported by 1,624 clergy and laiety as of Aug. 22, including 429 fellow clerics, according to the movement’s website ( The initiative has met with continued resistance, appeals to tradition, and threats of “consequences” from the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn. A survey of 500 Austrian priests in Nov. 2010 by the ORF Mediaforschung and GfK Austria found the desire for reform was overwhelming, with 80% of those surveyed calling for an end to celibacy, and 51% in favor of female priesthood.

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Austria Kids in THE CITY: Intensive Care Continued from front page city government made municipal childcare free of charge. Finally, 2010 saw the nationwide introduction of a compulsory pre-school year (Vorschule), aimed at enhancing the academic success of non-native German speaking children. “It made a difference,” stated Elisabeth Fibich, a municipal kindergarten teacher in the 6th District. “Those children who spoke no German and attended the compulsory twenty hours a week did finish the year with new language skills. Whether it is enough German to start school in September is another question.” Fibich felt that two years in kindergarten were necessary for children to be fluent enough for school. Hence, Vienna’s free municipal day care encourages parents to introduce their children into a German-speaking learning environment at an early stage. Families with residency in Vienna pay only for meals during childcare, and this too is negotiable for low-income families. An elementary education Child day care in Austria is divided into three groups: Krippe (nursery, ages 0-3), Kindergarten (pre-school, ages 3-6) and Hort (after-school care, ages 6-10). In 2010, the city registered 84,000 children in pre-school day care, of which 43% was in municipal centres, and 5% was being looked after by parent-run co-ops (so-called Kindergruppen or Tageseltern). While a surge of registrations for the free municipal day cares was expected, “the surprising result was the requests for Krippe places,” said Fibich. This reflects that, according to the Statistik Journal Wien (1/2010), 76% of Vienna’s women are working, and therefore reluctant to risk a lengthy career interruption after childbirth. Thus, “the Krippe is the largest expansion project,” highlighted Sabine Cizek from the MA10, the city agency responsible for child day care. Indeed, the free municipal childcare is designed to support parents in full time employment, education or training: they are given priority in the allocation of spaces, and must present a record of their employment status - as well as their residency status - when applying at the MA10. Moreover, Viennese day care centres support modern families with the longest opening hours and the least amount of closures of all Austrian states. In 2009/2010, 75% of Vienna’s day cares were open 51 weeks of the year and 90% of them were open at least nine hours a day, according to the Statistik Journal Wien. Municipal day care

centres are open from 6:30am to 5:30pm and if necessary from 6am to 6pm. Working parents with school age children may still struggle with a school day that traditionally ends at lunchtime, but the city provides 383 centres for after-school care, half of them municipal. The service costs nearly €200 a month including meals, with reductions for low-income families. Meanwhile, the City is attempting to increase the number of full day schools (Ganztagschulen). Going public Given their enhanced level of service, “the municipal day care centres are catching up with the offers of private ones,” commented Renate Gschlad, a former President of the Dachverband der Wiener Privatkindergärten und –horte, the association of private day care centres in Vienna. “Today it is simply a matter of taste, which system suits the family better, and not necessarily a question of private providers being better.” The remaining forte of private day cares, however, is the range of specialties and denominations. Nearly every district offers a bilingual English group or an English course with a native speaker. Also, opting for private day care does not mean missing out on public support altogether, as parents who register with the MA10 receive €226 a month towards the fees. Children with special needs have not been forgotten in the bustle of city life: 136 pre-school, and 122 after-school integration groups currently support one thousand children with special needs in the municipal system. Each group has an additional, special education teacher and an additional assistant, and is limited to twenty children, with four kids with special needs. Beyond supporting working parents and children with special needs, the City has been innovative in extending its notion of day care. For instance, several centres offer German courses for parents as well, thus addressing the language deficits of immigrant families comprehensively. Further, Kinderbetreuung Daheim provides in-home care for sick children whose parents need to go to work, at an income dependent rate. What these programmes seem to grasp to a degree rare even in Europe is the benefit of a well-designed child care system to the larger society. Beyond allowing a child to develop into a sociable and curious human being, public day care enables both parents to pursues their careers, and immigrant families to integrate into the wider culture. With day care looked after, officials say, families moving to Vienna have a far better chance of making a success of their lives here.

The Vienna Review

September 2011


A new study casts a light on the legal shadow world of internships in Austria, as graduates work for free with few prospects

Generation Praktikum Heads into the Real World by Sara Friedman There was a time not long ago, when students left university for a solid entry-level job, launching a career that, in Austria, often lasted for life. No longer. Today’s students are part of “Generation Praktikum” – the graduates whose careers start with a string of internships, working full time for a token wage or nothing at all. This summer, Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, the Social Democratic (SPÖ) Minister for Women and Public Service, kicked off a debate by calling for an end to unpaid internships in the Austrian civil service, where more than 350 recent graduates worked last year. Specifically, she wants interns to be paid based on the length of their engagement, and irrespectively of their qualifications. In theory, internships are a good opportunity: Like apprenticeships of old, they give experience in a particular field, supplementing or substituting a formal education with a practical one. In practice however, internships are complex and difficult to define. A timely study published in June, entitled Praktika und Praktikanten/Praktikantinnen in Österreich (“Internships and Interns in Austria”), seeks to clarify the origins and legal underpinnings of the practice, and the success and satisfaction rate of its participants. According to the study, by Hubert Eichmann, Bernhard Saupe, Marion Vogt, and Sara Scheiflinger from the Work Force Research and Consulting Service (FORBA), the lack of remuneration is just a symptom of a wider problem. Interns do not fall clearly into any established employment category. They are effectively volunteers, who have no rights under collective Anz_ViennaRev_6_2011:Layout 1 28.06.11 agreements, nor any protection under general workers’ rights legislation.

Internships’ ambivalent nature as both work and education makes them difficult to regulate under traditional labour laws. At one extreme, so-called Pflichtpraktika (compulsory internships) are part of a study programme, providing supplementary training in an academic field. According to Robert Stoffler from the Austrian Workers’ Chamber (AK), the biggest problem with these internships is deciding on the remuneration for the participants. At the other extreme, some internships are intended as entry-level jobs. These have the highest degree of dissatisfaction, the study found, and are the most difficult to justify legally. While interns’ duties and hours often approximate that of an actual job, they lack a collective agreement. This results in an “asymmetry between the intern and the employer” as employers are free to delegate tasks and shape the internship as a whole. Though intended as a route to a paid job, nothing is guaranteed. Internships listed on a CV may or may not count as work experience in later job applications, and internships are seen not so much as an indication of applicants’ talents, as of their ability to work for months without pay due to parents’ financial backing. Rather than providing clear support for Heinisch-Hosek’s reform plans, the FORBA study makes broad criticisms of the practice as a whole, supported by testimonials and an analysis of legal loopholes. Paying a decent wage to interns serving the Austrian government still neglects the more pressing issue of the private sector, and those working outside an educational programme. They remain in a legal grey area, 09:42 Seiteto2work full-time hours, with the “volunteering” fruits of their labour the most uncertain of all.

Keys to the City Messing About on Bikes Treating the city as a bicycle adventure playground has, alas, become more difficult, thanks to the police’s Schwer­punktaktion Radfahrer (“target-campaign: cyclists”), known as Aktion Scharf (“operation tough”, seriously). The campaign focuses on the inner city and the districts around the Ring, as well as the 19th to 22nd Districts, and the entire Donauinsel. The most frequent delicts are illegal parking (e.g. blocking a driveway, entailing a €7 fine), riding on the pavement or in a pedestrian zone (€21), and crossing at a red light (€36). Drink-riding has a higher price-tag, up to a staggering €3,600. The alcohol limit is 0.8 per mille, or 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, the same as that for motorists in the UK. That’s roughly equivalent to four units of alcohol for men, and three for women. Not a generous allowance: two small glasses of wine make up 3 ½ units, while a healthy liver processes about a unit per hour. If you suspect being even slightly over the limit, it’s best to push your bike, as even minor transgressions are costly.

Carefree Riding The first half of 2011 registered 3,135 bike thefts, almost 11% more than the year before. So, staying in the saddle certainly requires a decent lock, and possibly a bicycle theft insurance (Raddiebstahlversicherung). Avoid bike stores’ insurance offers, as they usually compensate only 80% of the purchase value, sometimes cheekily in the form of shop vouchers. Instead, first check with your household insurance, as most offer an affordable add-on covering all the residents’ bikes, whereever the theft takes place.

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Cyclists’ clubs are the second option. While you must become a member to buy the insurance, it is still good value for money. The Austrian automobile club, ÖAMTC, offers a non-motorized membership (Touring Mitgliedschaft) for €16 p.a. In addition, the annual insurance premium itself is 12.5% of the bicycle’s purchase value (totaling €41 p.a. for a €200 bike). The policy refunds 100% of the bike’s value within five years of purchase, and 50% thereafter. Perks are the coverage across Europe and all countries bordering the Mediterranean, and a break-down service. ÖAMTC only insures your bike if you have a shop receipt. So, for your eBay find, ARGUS, a cyclists’ lobby, accepts a value estimate (Schätzung) by any specialist bike store. ARGUS membership is €36 p.a., and the annual insurance premium is 8.8% of the bike’s estimated value (totaling €53,60 for a €200 bike). The Europe-wide policy compensates 100% of a new (or newly estimated) bike’s value for the first year, declining by 10% annually thereafter and freezing at 50% when a bike is older than five years. Third-party liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) in case of an accident, while usually covered by your household insurance, is also included in the ARGUS membership, along with a generous legal fees coverage (Rechtsschutz), making it the best value for money. For liability insurance alone, there is an even cheaper - if temporary - alternative: Verkehrsclub Österreich is handing out free coverage for 2012 to cyclists and pedestrians during European Mobility Week, Sept. 16 – 22. Email to, or call (01) 893 2697.

Paradise is not a place. It's a feeling. 42 rooms and suites. Good architecture and great art. Charming and unique. Kirchengasse 41, A-1070 Vienna P ++43-1/522 66 66

ÖAMTC (many outlets), 1, Schubertring 1–3, (01) 711 99 0, ARGUS, 4, Frankenberggasse 11, (01) 50 50 907,

06.09.2011 23:00:05 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

Central Europe

Erste Foundation honours CEE integration pioneers in Prague

Projects That Bridge Cultures by Camilo C. Antonio Prague played host to 132 “country winners” of the 2011 ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration (EFASI) in a 3-day series of lectures, workshops and performances, capped by an Awards Ceremony Jun. 20 announcing 35 grants totalling €613.000 – thus, ending a twoyear selection process that had reviewed 1,850 applications from 12 countries. The top prize of €40,000 went to a project in Croatia for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Known as the Autonomous Women’s House in Zagreb, the Centre has been influential since the 1980s, changing the legal system and enabling women to support themselves and their children. Some 700 representatives from NGOs, government, business and media filled the worldrenowned Barandov Film Studios, where the edgy gypsy carneval sound of the “Allstar Refjudzi Band” set the tone, capturing the members’ struggle as refugees: involuntary migration, racism and human rights violations. The EFASI Trophy itself is somewhat of a challenge – a giant black sea urchin made of steel, designed by Sanja Ivekovic, internationally-acclaimed artist based in Zagreb. Andreas Treichl, chairman of the Foundation board and CEO of Erste Group, presented the spiky Trophy to winner Neva Tolle in gloved hands, symbolizing the beauty involved in social integration work as well as the care with which it needs to be handled. So far, the Trophy has gone to three women-run projects. ‘‘We believe in societies in which all members have equal rights,” Treichl emphasised. “But in order to create such societies, every one needs to contribute.”

The prickly EFASI trophy

Photo: Erste Stiftung

The ‘‘Roma Press Agency’’ in Kosice, eastern Slovakia, that counters negative reporting and media ignorance, garnered the 2nd Prize of €30,000. The Agency also supports Roma education for media careers, thus empowering their struggle for equality in new ways. Civil society groups continue to face real and symptomatic “Homelessness” so it is appropriate that the 3rd Prize of €20,000 went to “Roses of Saint Francis Homeless Shelter” in Rijeka, a vital resource especially in Croatia whose laws seem to ignore the problem. All 132 country winners are entitled to a range of benefits starting with a dynamic social media cum website presence (http://www., an interactive database of good practice projects of a variety of NGO partners in the CSE-region, the first of its kind in Europe. Winners would also receive capacity building with the support of professional PR consultants over two years to improve their public relations and social media skills, project manager Dejan Petrovic confirmed. The screening of a video clip on the winning organization by Davor Konjikuvic elicited protest at the report that every third woman in Croatia suffered from some kind of domestic violence. A Croat businessman blurted out: “But who does that? I don’t, I know my brother doesn’t, and neither do our relations or friends!” “That’s typical,” Petrovic commented later. “So many people do not know what NGOs have to deal with in their own countries.” EFASI is changing that, as Kristina Magdolenova from the winning Roma Media Centre attested: “Upon my return to Kosice, I got so many calls, even from those who had been ignoring us when we approached them for help.”

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A skull from a mass grave at the Prijedor exhumation site Screens of Change Continued from front page exclusivity of Kino Kriterion, the streets are filled with people, spilling out of bars and clustering around elegant, white festival tents peddling booze and house music. It is this buoyant atmosphere, more than the films, that draws the crowds to Sarajevo. Olga has come from Ljubljana with a group of friends. “You can watch the films at home,” she says, “I’m here for the people.” Strikingly, many of the revelers are young Bosnian expatriates whose families fled during the war. To Merima, a twenty-something living in Germany, the Film Festival is a sign of how much things have improved: “The festival is the best thing that ever happened to Sarajevo”. She enjoys the city’s multi-cultural vibe, and the fact that she, as a young Muslim woman, can go out in a (very) short skirt without anyone casting aspersions. Truth and reconciliation Clearly, the festive atmosphere – and the boons of the tourist industry – are doing their bit to heal wartime traumas and restore Sarajevo’s cosmopolitan identity. But to those who actually go to the cinemas a more complex picture is revealed: that of artists and audiences sharply divided over how the legacy of the Bosnian war should be remembered, represented, and overcome. Here, cinema crystallizes debates over “truth and reconciliation” which have long vexed post-conflict theorists and policy makers. In the Bosnian Documentaries series, A Hero Of Our Time and My Lost Generation, screened back-to-back in an enlightened curatorial move, highlight two radically different approaches: The former is a pain-staking, forensic investigation alleging the complicity of a Montenegrin police chief, Slobodan Pejović, in turning sixty Bosnian refugees over to the Serbian militia. This flatly challenges the official account: Pejović received a medal for civil courage after the war for saving Bosnian lives. According to this approach, reconciliation cannot fully take place until all individuals responsible for wartime crimes have been held to account. But the response to director Seki Radončić’s work shows just how divisive this approach is: “I and my family have been physically attacked before, but this time I was completely alone. I had no support in Montenegrin society or the media, because I was attacking their national hero, and their very sense of identity,” Radončić tells the audience after the screening. In the cinema hall, however, he hardly lacks support: a woman thanks the film-maker for spotlighting Montenegro’s neglected role in the war, and notes the country’s “long genocidal tradition against non-Montenegrins”. It is precisely this slip, from holding an individual responsible to tarnishing an entire ethnic group, which the expat-Bosnian film-maker Vladimir Tomić is so wary of. His film, My Lost Generation, is a mournful auto-biography tracing the corrosive effects of the Bosnian war on his own identity, and that of his age group. Having fled Sarajevo with his family as a teenager, Tomić spent three years in a Danish refugee camp where he was taunted for having a Serbian name. The fact that his family included Muslims, Croats, and Serbs no longer seemed to matter. Returning to Bosnia, Tomić faced the same stigma: During an interview for his film, a wartime survivor said to him, “you are a good boy, Vladimir, but you must beware of the evil of your people.” His people, that meant the

Film still: Vladimir Tomić, My Lost Generation

Serbs, not the Bosnians. At the end of the documentary, Tomić argues that the evil encountered in war is inherent to humanity itself; it is a plea to stop the blame-game between population groups that has made the restoration of a multiethnic Bosnian identity all but impossible. Cinema and social change In his early thirties, Vladimir Tomić’s curly brown hair and wide eyes give him a boyish air, yet with the kind of gravity that sensitive, quiet children have. I talk to the film-maker, who was

trained in Copenhagen and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, in the café of the gleaming new Cinema City. Rolling a cigarette, he points out that wartime atrocities were committed against all sides. Accordingly, empathy, not blame, is the key to reconciliation: “The most important thing is recognition of the losses of the other side as well, as they see it. Otherwise we will remain stuck.” I ask him how the Film Festival can contribute to this process. “I don’t think film can change the world, but it can unite people in the cinema and start a debate. It can also uncover hidden things,” he says, seemingly implying Radončić’s investigative approach, “but artists should be responsible in using such a mass medium… The nationalist nerve is easily manipulated.” Still, Tomić is guardedly optimistic: “The new generation is tired of the old nationalist ways. They’re making great progress in art, film, and music. They’re working on a united Bosnia, regardless of ethnic group.” This effort includes the Film Festival, but Tomić is wary that “what happens in Sarajevo, stays in Sarajevo. Outside, the villages are totally divided.” In the countryside, a pernicious cocktail of poverty, lack of education, and nationalist incitement keep ethnic barriers up and corrupt politicians in power. While the Sarajevo Film Festival may not immediately bridge the divides between Bosnia’s autonomous Entities, it has certainly met its aim of recreating civil society in the capital. In a manner unseen at other European film festivals, it focuses the political debate of the middle class, draws a generation of young, educated expatriates back to their one-time home, and restores Sarajevans’ cosmopolitan confidence. Ultimately, this may have consequences for Bosnia’s political and economic development beyond the capital itself. The Sarajevo Film Festival deserves attention for more than Angelina Jolie’s smile.

Central Europe Briefs Belgrade-Pristina Talks Custom talks between Serbia and Kosovo are scheduled to resume Sept. 2 in Brussels after a six week delay, a move welcomed by the European Commision that had mediated the start of negotiations in March. The talks were interrupted in July when Pristina banned Serbian imports in response to Serbia’s blockade of Kosovar goods since 2008. An attempt to enforce the Kosovar ban with military means was countered by ethnic Serbs at the border, requiring NATO peacekeepers to step in and restore order.

Bilingual Carinthia The-56-year-old Ortstafelstreit (town sign argument) over bilingual signage in Carinthia formally ended Aug. 16, with the inauguration of the first German-Slovene town signs for Eisenkappel (Železna Kapla) and Sittersdorf (Žitara Vas). The compromise was reached by officials in early 2011, establishing that towns with a Slovene population of least 17.5% be referred to in their native language, as well as German. Slovene representatives and the regionally dominant right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) were unable to reach consensus to date, even though the enforcement of bilingual road signs in multiethnic areas is a requirement of the Austrian State Treaty of 1955. “The Austrian tradition of paying attention to each other is a reason for pride,” said Chancellor Werner Faymann (Social Democratic Party, SPÖ), “and should serve as an example for the entire European community.“

Learning Montenegrin Montenegro’s parliament is set to discuss an amendment to its general education law affecting compulsory language teaching in schools on Sept. 2. The debate is being closely watched by the EU as the pro-Serbian opposition has threatened to block electoral reform legislation essential for starting EU accession talks should their demands regarding education not be met. Opposition parties demand that Serbian language be restored as a compulsory school subject, alongside Montenegrin, while Prime

Minister Igor Lukšić proposed optional language courses in children’s “mother tongue”, be it Serbian, Albanian, Bosnian or Croatian, Montenegro’s other languages. The opposition, however, demands a special status for Serbian, as in the April 2011 census 43% of the population declared itself as Serbian speakers, and only 37% as speakers of Montenegrin, the official language since Montenegro’s secession from Serbia in 2006.

Bosnian Leaders Divided Almost a year after the general election, Bosnia still lacks a central government as party leaders failed to agree during talks in July. The elections last October returned the Bosniak-lead Social Democrats as the largest party, enabling them to form the regional government for the Bosniak-Croat region. Yet the two main Croat parties refused to join that regional government, while separately entering an agreement with the leadership of the Serb region, Republika Srpska, to form a central-level government together. This would have to include the Bosniak Social Democrats, however, as the constitution requires a threeperson presidency shared between the country’s main ethnic groups. While the daily running of the country is hardly affected, being conducted by the regional governments, the continued absence of a central authority frustrates Bosnia’s application for EU candidacy.

No Extradition to Serbia An Austrian court has turned down Serbia’s request for the extradition of Jovan Divjak, a former general in the Bosnian army during the Bosnian war of 1991 to 1995. The provincial court of Korneuburg decided that Divjak could not expect a fair trial in Belgrade as a lacking treaty on the exchange of evidence between Serbia and Bosnia would compromise his defense. Serbia accuses Divjak of complicity in an attack on a Yugoslav National Army convoy during its retreat from Sarajevo in May 1992. Divjak, who has been unable to leave Austria since his arrest and subsequent bail in March, has returned to Sarajevo where he heads an educational charity.

06.09.2011 23:00:08 Uhr

The Vienna Review

of Books

Author Thomas Glavinic: A tale of destitute genius in fin-de-siècle Vienna

Photo: Heribert Corn

Chess and the mysteries of human aggression: Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw by Austrian author Thomas Glavinic

Constructing the Game By Cynthia Peck I played chess again one hot afternoon this summer. It had been a number of years. Surprising myself, my approach had changed radically: I had become aggressive. Lost was the long-ago defensive game I played with my brother. And lost was the careful game I had needed with my son, who already at seven could put up an excellent fight. At ten, my son discovered the elegance of the Japanese game called Go, and I lost my chess partner. But that didn’t bother me too much: chess had lost its appeal. I had finally beaten my brother, and out there in the world, the Machine had also beaten the grandmaster. The brute force programs had been refined with heuristic logic and pattern searches; there were even chess competitions between computers. Why still believe in human intuition? Luckily, I read Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw. This wonderful book is a fictional account of the world chess championship held in 1910 in Vienna and Berlin between the actual world champion of the time, Emanuel Lasker, and the fictional Carl Haffner, who is modeled on the true Austrian grandmaster Karl Schlechter. At the time, the German Lasker had already been champion for sixteen years. But the Vienna

KARIM EL-GAWHARY’S TAGEBUCH DER ARABISCHEN REVOLUTION Head of the ORF’s (Austrian Broadcasting Company) foreign bureau in the Middle East, Karim El-Gawhary reported live from the heart of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In this personal document of contemporary history, he takes us on a journey from the outset of the Tunisian revolution, to the protests at Tahrir Square, and the battle of the Libyan rebels. Reading in German. Sep. 8, 19:00 Thalia Buchhandlung 6., Mariahilferstraße 99, 01 595 45 50 STADTLESEN READING IN THE CITY On Sept. 15 – 18, the main court of the Museumsquartier will be turned into a giant open-air living room, with beanbag chairs and freely accessible bookshelves. Bookworms can choose from 3,000 books of all genres and many languages. The event is part of the initiative StadtLesen, which tours through European cities and seeks to sparks the interest for reading. Sep. 15-18, 09-22:00 Museumsquartier, Haupthof 7., Museumsplatz 1, 01 523 58 81

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Chess Club was sure their Schlechter could secure the world title for Austria. Schlechter was a master, but he was particularly a master of the defense, with a style “always geared to safety.” Not aggressive, he was generally inclined to let a game finish undecided: Over half of the some 700 games he played in his professional career ended in a draw. As described by Glavinic, the unassuming Schlechter (alias Haffner) had to be pushed into challenging the world champion. In the quiet depiction of how the nearly destitute lived in fin de siècle Vienna, the life of the chess genius Haffner seems strangely foreign, but nevertheless painfully alive. Perhaps the most curious and yet finest point in Carl Haffner’s nature is his reluctance to be any sort of burden. He has an almost pathological modesty and a deep humility. He refuses any gain that he does not feel absolutely fairly earned. In contrast, his opponent Lasker, as portrayed in Love of the Draw, has “a fighting spirit unequalled by any player alive.” Chess is a silent sport, but it is nevertheless full of contemplative fury, minute choreography of skill, and slow-motion wrestling. It is not merely a game with 64 squares; it is much more than the memorization of openings or tactical

positioning. It is the encounter of two psyches, a meeting of two temperaments. When Haffner meets his foe, he is upset and embarrassed by the hullabaloo. In return, Lasker eyes Haffner intently, assumes a “serene and lofty manner,” and puffs on a cigar. As in solving any problem, in chess it is possible to play a pugilist game, boxing your way forward. It is also possible to choose a game that builds walls and nearly immobile defenses. Some players prefer symmetry in the opening , others immediately fight for the center of the board. Some strive for equality and others for the advantage. Some are willing to sacrifice pieces to gain positional strength, others are reluctant to lose a single one. “Every true master has a style of his own. A musician doesn’t invent songs, he composes them. A writer doesn’t simply write books, he puts them together. Similarly, a great chess master doesn’t play games, he constructs them.” The reluctant Austrian begins the challenge, moving carefully. But as Lasker immediately notices, Haffner “played chess with his entire self, not just with his brain.” The first four games all end in a draw. Then Haffner wins the fifth after a remarkable blunder by Lasker. In the tenth and final round, Haffner leads by a point. He opens strongly, and Lasker’s serenity is finally broken. Lasker knows that the final game, too, will most certainly end in a draw. Suddenly Haffner makes a move that is completely out of character. As the astonished spectators immediately see, “the Viennese challenger had lost his wits: he was playing to win.” Haffner considered his lead unmerited: to truly consider himself the world champion he had convinced himself that he needed to win by two points. But it is a shortlived aggression: just a few moves later, after a nearly paralyzed hour-long analysis of the board, Haffner “plays like a child” and loses the game. For a grandmaster, chess is like ballet, full of elegant series of moves that have been analyzed

Upcoming Literary Events

DAVID SAFIER’S HAPPY FAMILY After the bestsellers Schlechtes Karma, Jesus Liebt Mich and Plötzlich Shakespeare, the German screenwriter and author wittily discusses yet another subject of life in a fictitious yet close to home story. In his latest novel, Safier’s biting wit explores the everyday madness of family life. Why is it that teenagers smoke weed during pu-

September 2011


for hundreds of years. There are five categories of openings, each divided into a hundred subcategories, of which each has a name. These are patterns that masters can dance in their sleep. What for us amateurs can feel like slow plowing forward, or even tedious and complicated stumbling, is for a master a rapid attack or defense that can be implemented again and again. In the end, Haffner returns to his humble life in Vienna. But Lasker’s triumph is not a true victory. Although the victor takes the spoils, in this case a gold watch, both he and the defeated know that it was merely due to Haffner’s retreat in the last moment that left the balance of the scales in Lasker’s favor. Love of the Draw is an unassuming book, much like the title’s protagonist, but it is rich in the subtle intricacies of human nature. The succulent vocabulary of John Brownjohn’s translation from the original German is a pleasure. But above all, the book reawakened my interest in how and why people play chess. Chess is not the “real world,” nor is the solving of chess problems a metaphor for it. But the mental process of disentangling the myriad possibilities offered in a game of chess is deeply satisfying. It is comparable to moving through the clean steps of a mathematical algorithm or reading a long crime novel. It leaves the mind both exhausted and refreshed. And so I will play more chess. But not like Haffner. It seems that I would rather, like Lasker, “accept losses in order to lure an opponent onto dangerous ground.” It has been a revealing glimpse into my own psyche and, I must admit, the idea is exhilarating. Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw by Thomas Glavinic (John Brownjohn, transl.) The Harvill Press (1999) available at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers 1., Sterngasse 2, (01) 535 5053

Boards ready at the Vienna Chess Open at the Wiener Rathaus in August Photo: Vienna Chess Open

World of Books JOÃO UBALDO RIBEIRO UM BRASILEIRO EM BERLIN (A BRASILIAN IN BERLIN) Spending a year in Berlin in 1990, the Brazilian journalist and author wittily portrayed the Germans and the radical changes brought about by the fall of the Wall in the new, reunited German capital. Commissioned by the daily Frankfurter Rundschau to write a column, Um Brasileiro em Berlin, is a compilation of selected commentaries thereof. Reading in Portuguese and German. Sep. 16, 19:00 Hauptbücherei, 01 400 08 45 00 7., Urban-Loritz-Platz 2a

The Vienna Review

berty, when it really should be their parents, is one question raised by the perplexed mother in the story. Reading in German. Sep. 17, 19:00 Museumsquartier, Haupthof 7., Museumsplatz 1, 01 523 58 81 MARY HIGGINS CLARK READS I’LL WALK ALONE Struggling to bring the normalcy back into her life after her son has been kidnapped from a stroller in Central Park, an interior designer learns that someone has stolen her identity. Photos surface, suggesting that she herself has kidnapped the boy. Convinced he is still alive, she sets out to find the person responsible. By the bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark, who will give a reading in Vienna for the first time in the Kriminacht (Crime Novel Night). Readings in English and German. Reservation required. Sep. 20, 19:30 Cafe Schwarzenberg 1., Kärnter Ring 17, 01 512 89 98

SIMON BECKETT READING FROM THE GRAVE Three girls disappear. Their murderer confesses but keeps it secret where he buried them. When he breaks out of prison eight years later, Dr. David Hunter, who had been appointed to the case, is haunted by the past. By the British author and journalist, Simon Beckett. Readings are part of the Kriminacht (crime novel night) and held in English and German. Sep. 20, 20:00 Fernwärme Wien, 9., Spittelauer Lände 45, 01 313 26 0 No reservations possible TONY O’ NEILL READS FROM SICK CITY A legendary sex tape. Two desperate dope friends. Three million dollars. Welcome to Sick City! In this thriller, the New York-based author and musician explores the dirty side of Hollywood through the eyes of two junkies. A former drug addict himself, O’ Neill captures the reader with blatant candor, humour and almost disgusting, thick visual descriptions. Read in German and English. Sep. 20, 20:00 Rabenhof Theater 3., Rabengasse 3, 01 712 82 82

06.09.2011 21:30:44 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

The Vienna Review

of Books

In the Garden of Beasts: Erik Larson’s novel of Americans witnessing the rise of Nazism

Innocents Abroad by Mary Albon Berlin 1933. Adolf Hitler has just become chancellor. Anti-Semitic violence is on the rise. Like the rest of the country, Germany’s freewheeling capital is rapidly learning to dance to the rhythm of rattling sabers and jackboots on the march. This is the diabolical backdrop for Erik Larson’s latest work of narrative non-fiction, In the Garden of Beasts, which recounts the experiences of the U.S. ambassador to Germany and his daughter in the early days of the Nazi reign of terror. In 1933, William E. Dodd was a 64-year-old professor who wanted more time to work on his history of the antebellum South. A diplomatic post in some quiet backwater seemed like the perfect solution, so he lobbied the Roosevelt Administration for an ambassadorship. FDR appointed him to Berlin, a post several others had already declined. Despite misgivings, Dodd accepted. U.S. relations with Germany were increasingly fraught after Hitler came to power. It was the height of the Great Depression, and Washington feared the new Nazi government would default on Germany’s considerable debts to American banks. Meanwhile, American Jewish organizations were pressuring Roosevelt to confront Hitler about Nazi policies excluding Jews (1 per cent of Germany’s population) from most professions and constricting their participation in public life. Dodd arrived in Germany in July 1933 accompanied by his wife and adult children. Determined to serve his country well, Dodd brought good intentions, an open mind and fond memories of his student days in Leipzig. His 24-yearold daughter, Martha, was eager to escape a failed marriage and embark on a new life in Berlin. In the Garden of Beasts alternates between Amb. Dodd’s diplomatic challenges and Martha Dodd’s sexual escapades. Drawing heavily on Dodd’s Diary (1941), edited by his children, and Through Embassy Eyes (1939) by Martha Dodd, Larson lets the ambassador and his daughter speak for themselves, giving voice to their naïveté, prejudices and what often seems like willful ignorance of events in Germany. Dodd was largely unprepared for the changes that were rapidly reshaping the Germany he had known decades earlier, a land of Gemütlichkeit, high culture and liberal thinking. On the surface, life for most Germans seemed normal. Attacks on Jews were largely dismissed as regrettable exceptions. But gradually, his views began to change.

Author Erik Larson: “a master of narrative non-fiction”

Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/Crown

The Nazis had introduced Gleichschaltung (translated here as “coordination”) “to bring citizens, government ministries, universities, and cultural and social institutions in line with National Socialist beliefs and attitudes.” This policy was astonishingly successful, in part because of voluntary adaptation by the fearful, rule-accustomed populace, who believed they could avoid trouble if they fell into line. Thousands of Jews fled Germany in 1933 (though most remained, believing the Nazis could not possibly hold onto power). The Dodds didn’t understand why there were so many fully furnished luxury villas available in Berlin, and negotiated a low rent for a mansion opposite the Tiergarten, the city’s vast central park, in exchange for allowing the Jewish owners to occupy the top floor – to ensure their own safety. Dodd prided himself on his frugality and simple virtues. In solidarity with Americans enduring the Depression, he insisted on paying for official entertainment from his embassy salary and riding in his own Chevrolet instead of a limousine. His approach violated diplomatic traditions of protocol, alienating both his underlings and superiors, as well as the Germans, which ultimately undermined his authority and fed a disregard for his abilities and efforts. In his first meeting with Hitler, Dodd believed the new chancellor truly wanted peace. In time, however, he saw things differently. The turning-point was the Night of the Long Knives, the bloody 1934 purge that decimated the ranks of the Nazi Sturmabteilung, or S.A. Dodd was repulsed by the viciousness of these political murders, and expected they would produce a popular uprising and government overthrow. Instead, Germans largely accepted Hitler’s explanation

that the summary execution of traitors was necessary to stave off a Putsch. Now Dodd tried to raise the alarm in Washington. He argued that Germany’s escalating remilitarization was a sign of coming war and urged America to abandon isolationism. Roosevelt shared his view, but the State Department and the American public did not. In Berlin, Dodd attempted modest forms of protest, like boycotting the Nazi rally in Nuremberg. Eventually, out of moral revulsion – “It is so humiliating to me to shake hands with known and confessed murderers” – Dodd withdrew from active engagement with the German government, resigning himself to “the delicate work of watching and carefully doing nothing.” Erik Larson proved himself a master of narrative nonfiction with the award-winning Devil in the White City (2003), which intertwines the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with the true story of a serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims. When history is told in this fashion, the writer brings the past to life using literary techniques like compelling characters and a satisfying narrative arc. It’s meant to be both enlightening and entertaining. Despite the inherent fascination of prewar Berlin and the Dodds’ unusual perspective, In the Garden of Beasts however falls short, both as history and as a reading experience. Good history demands new insights, but Larson adds little to the existing canon, and as narrative, it is inconsistent and too often seems to lose its way. The book’s action builds up to the Night of the Long Knives, but then it rapidly draws to a close, even though the horror had just begun. The Dodds spent another three-and-a-half years in Berlin, surely a tale worth telling. Dodd’s wife

In a book presentation at the Wiener Festwochen, Roma artists critique injustices and the persistent clichees of who they are

gars, thieves or robbers, promiscuous and darkcomplexioned. What’s more, we are not allowed to forget: the stigma of the past is always made to follow us, as we fight for human rights and a place in society.” Several of those featured in the book are part of a new generation of educated Roma who are out in the public space and whose presence is acknowledged by the media: as scholars, writers, filmmakers, and artists, who participate in the discourse. Flamenco guitarist and designer Gabi Jimenez, who lives in Paris, says that French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s racist treatment of Roma forces him to be both an artist and an activist. Integration “has not been helpful for the gitan, who has not been allowed to live as an integral part of society since the 15th century, having been systematically discriminated against by policies and authorities.” Sociologist Katalin Barsony, who worked as an expert for the Open Society Institute’s Roma Programme in Budapest and the European Roma Information Office in Brussels, says: “We may use that word integration only when the Roma have been able to break out of poverty; and then, only if the Roma is able to retain ethnic and cultural identity.” An acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Barsony explains, “it should be possible to have multiple identities, but being European and being Hungarian, in my case, would have first to be based on accepting who we are as

The Activists of Romale! By Camilo C. Antonio Romale! Persönliches über Aufbruch, Kunst und Aktivismus (“Personal Views on Breaking Out, Art and Activism”) is an elegant book, showcasing life experiences of Roma as artists and human rights activists – breaking out of social exclusion. Presented within “Safe European Home?”, a multi-dimensional initiative of the Wiener Festwochen’s “Into The City” programme, it is a rallying cry against displacement and violence against the Roma. U.K. contributing artists Delaine and Damian Le Bas set up a mock camping ground in front of the Austrian Parliament. “As Gypsy-Roma Travellers, we don’t take this privilege of inclusion lightly,” said Delaine, “especially as this could not happen in the UK.” Their adult son Damian James Le Bas, who publishes the website Travellers’ Times and produces BBC-radio’s first programme on Roma, was impressed. “Romale!, is a beautiful book,” he said, “that we in the UK can only dream of.” A German-language publication by Ursula Glaeser and Astrid Kury, the book features Roma

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artists who participated in the 6-month cultural festival Romale!10, organized last year in Graz. Glaeser and Kury stressed the continuing discrimination and racist violence against the 10-12 million estimated Roma in Europe, citing statistics from “Roma in Bewegung”, an exhibition for Austrian schools on Roma migration since the 10th century, from Rajasthan in central India through Persia towards Europe: “It’s all about deconstructing the undifferentiated perceptions, and bring forward structural themes voiced by a new generation of Roma, themselves straddling art and activism; tradition and modernity, and able to demonstrate their own diversity, integration and courage.” During the presentation in the Looshaus, Damian Les Bas pointed out that Roma identity comprises a matrix of characteristics that add up to a common culture, even if no one group brings all those qualities together. Roma history bears an imprint of irresponsible acts by those in power. “What separates us from mainstream communities is the stereotyping, which we still struggle against: that we are all uneducated, beg-

and son (without memoires) are mere shadows, and nagging questions remain unanswered, such as the fate of the Dodds’ Jewish landlords. The business of diplomatic relations with the Nazis and the infighting and anti-Semitism of the prewar State Department are surely of interest, but not unknown, and were the driest parts of the book. Larson attempts to spice things up with Martha Dodd’s liaisons dangereuses. Her numerous Berlin lovers included a German flying ace, the author Thomas Wolfe, a French diplomat, the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet agent. A Nazi friend introduced her to Hitler (thinking he “would be a much more reasonable leader if he only fell in love”), and her Soviet lover recruited her as a spy. But Larson’s breathless account of Martha’s affairs becomes tedious, leaving the impression that she was shallow, self-absorbed and immature. Despite having studied at the University of Chicago and worked as a journalist, Martha long refused to probe beneath the surface of Nazi propaganda. Indeed, she was enthralled by the Nazis: “The youth are bright faced and hopeful, they sing to the noble ghost of Horst Wessel with shining eyes and unerring tongues,” she wrote to the poet Carl Sandburg, one of her American lovers. Like many American in Europe, she dismissed press reports of repression as exaggerated. She continued to support the Nazis even after witnessing brownshirts chase someone down. It took the Night of the Long Knives to open Martha’s eyes. Eventually she swung hard to the left, becoming an enthusiastic if inconsequential Soviet spy. During the McCarthy era, Martha and her wealthy American husband (also a spy) fled the United States and lived out their days behind the Iron Curtain, in a 12-room villa in Prague, driving a Mercedes and attended by servants. While Martha’s life story might have made an interesting New Yorker profile, her Berlin follies aren’t enough to carry a book. As for her father, as U.S. ambassador to Berlin during Germany’s descent into routinized brutality, William Dodd seems simply to have been the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. His efforts to confront the Nazi juggernaut were feeble and ineffective. The Germans isolated him diplomatically, and he also isolated himself. His warnings went unheeded in Washington. In December 1937, Dodd was officially recalled from his post. Back home, he lectured widely, warning that war in Europe was inevitable, and that the United States could not remain on the sidelines. He chastised American companies for doing business with Germany. He even stated that Hitler’s true intention toward Jews was “to kill them all.” But his attempts to wake up America were futile. His story, at least as Erik Larson tells it, belongs in the footnotes of history. In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson, Crown Publishing (2010) available at Shakespeare & Company 1., Sterngasse 2, (01) 535 5053, Roma, and a conscious awareness of those values in our tradition as a common thread.” In the book’s initial pages, a stirring manifestation from Mirjam Karoly entitled “Living in Europe” appears to give good news on the Austrian experience, where Roma seem to be better integrated than elsewhere. However, she emphasizes that it took some time after Austria joined the EU, and it cost the lives of four people during the Oberwart Bombing in Burgenland. “It is not possible to specify who is being educated and employed because there is no data,” says Karoly, a Roma and Austrian advisor to the OSCE. Indeed, with extreme right and populist politicians on the rise in Austria, the fear prevails of being registered as Roma – a phenomenon in the 1930s that led to persecution in the Holocaust. Romale! raises crucial questions about furthering integration in the face of well-established institutions within which mainstream population groups feel threatened by “otherness”? What is required to stop social behaviour and practices that not only label Roma as outsiders but also make them more prone to misperceptions and unethical judgements and the butt of sick jokes? Romale! Persönliches über Aufbruch, Kunst und Aktivismus by Ursula Glaeser & Astrid Kury Drava Verlag (2011)

06.09.2011 21:30:46 Uhr

The Vienna Review

of Books

Christopher Caldwell on the parody news show, The Colbert Report

Film still: Colbert Report

Caldwell’s Reflection on the Revolution in Europe:a trenchant account of how Muslim immigration has reshaped the West

Foreigners at Home By Cristina Rotaru Today, the question of Islam in Europe has again become as current as it was more than a thousand years ago, when General Tariq ibn-Ziyad and his Moors brought most of Iberia under Islamic rule, thus starting what would become one of the most enduring clashes of cultures in history. It has endured regimes and ideologies, puzzling theorists and practitioners alike, all the while fluctuating between overly-heartfelt hospitality and hostile, indignant rage. Context creates content, and it is precisely in times in which political shifts are starting to alter the map of Europe, with even the most left-wing

states like Sweden and Norway witnessing increasingly violent reactions towards Muslim immigration, that an alternative, a slower kind of revolution becomes plausible – one that might lie closer to the heart of the European belief system, and whose repercussions remain unclear. Senior editor of The Weekly Standard and regular columnist for the Financial Times, American writer Christopher Caldwell has become the long sought-after outside critic of European policy, a role that no insider has yet been able to fill. Over the last few decades, he has offered measured accounts of the real implications of immigration, and has become, in the words of

The Guardian’s Martin Woollacott, “one of the most urbane and interesting voices” in today’s journalism. His tone is loud, his arguments caustic and hard to ignore. In his latest book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Can Europe be the same with different people in it?, Caldwell meticulously deconstructs the European obsession with ­immigration and the defensiveness with which it still tries to justify years of ongoing frustration of being bound to late-century political correctness. The title is a reference to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, (1790) one of the most notorious attacks on the abstract foundations of the then bourgeois movement that would come to shape political thought for centuries. “Immigration is about conflict in the best of circumstances,” Caldwell argued in a talk at the London School of Economics in May 2009, stressing that the extent to which it has, and still continues in Europe had been underestimated by even the most knowledgeable of experts. Why, then, hasn’t it developed into an American-style melting pot? The complexity of European immigration and integration, he says, cannot be explained without several often overlooked factors. In contrast to the U.S., Europe contains more differentiated ethnic groups and a far more powerful history of conflicting ideals resolved, a consensus not easily replaced. As with Samuel Huntington’s controversial statement that “Islam has bloody borders,” Christopher Caldwell’s more reasoned assessment is still a definitive one. “Europe can and will not stay the same with different people in it,” Caldwell writes, “and most likely it will be we Europeans who succumb to the immigrants’ needs rather than they to ours.” Growing incoming populations have already reshaped the face of the Old Continent, Caldwell points out, encouraged by local elites for shortterm profit. These myopic views have failed to anticipate the long-term consequences of mass immigration. In doing so, the people of Europe

According to the Austrian dramatist Thomas Bernhard, his homeland was “a brutal and stupid nation…a mindless, cultureless sewer spreading penetrating stench all over Europe.”

To the Point of Extinction by David Warren Both during his life and after his death, Thomas Bernhard excited controversy. When he was accepting a minor national award in 1968, he said by way of thanks, “It’s ridiculous, if one thinks of death.” He was also to insert a clause in his will that, if it had been respected – which it wasn’t  – would have prevented his plays being performed in the country after his death. Yet, even within Austria, the land that he so roundly condemned, he is considered to be one of the mightiest giants of 20th-century Germanlanguage literature. Nowhere do his dazzling attributes shine brighter than in Extinction, his last, and perhaps darkest novel. In Extinction, (Auslöschung. Ein Zerfall) Bernhard brilliantly dissects reality and perception and plays with how our own selves differ from our existence in the minds of others.The narrator and central figure of the novel is FranzJosef Murau, who has cut himself off from his Austrian landowning family and their home, Wolfsegg, and sought an intellectual life as a tutor in Rome. At first, the misanthropic Murau presents his family, and, more generally, people and the world in a ghastly light. For the reader, lost in the gentle musicality of Bernhard’s spiralling sentences that fragment and repeat, whittling away at his obsessions, it takes a while to work out that these rants and conjectures are not dealing with objective fact, nor are they even the conclusions of considered arguments. They are instead mere whims of the moment:

“The truth is, Gambetti, that mothers shirk all responsibility for the children they bring into the world. What I’m saying is true of many mothers, indeed of most mothers. But I’m quite alone in saying it! We can think such thoughts, but we mustn’t express them… We must choke down such thoughts in a world that would react to them with revulsion…The world wouldn’t tolerate such views, because it’s accustomed to falsehood and hypocrisy.” The narrator’s prose has such a persuasive and dreamlike power that we don’t realise this isn’t a position derived from logic, but is rather part of a fanatical superstructure of ideas that Murau develops to justify his own feelings of neglect by his mother. Similarly, Murau tells his student Gambetti (a long suffering pupil, on the receiving end of many diatribes, whose relevance to his studies must surely be ­questionable): “Over time we’ve become accustomed to concealing everything, or at least everything we think, everything we venture to think, lest we be done to death, for we know that whoever fails to conceal his thoughts, his real thoughts, which only he is aware of – is done to death, I told Gambetti. The vital thoughts are those we keep secret, I told Gambetti , not those we express or publish, which have very little common – usually nothing at all with those we conceal and are usually far inferior to them.” The magnetic charm of expression flatters and beguiles the reader into an unquestioning acceptance. The sonorities echo each other, linking and clarifying elements within the narrator’s

Thomas Bernhard

Photo: Andrej Reisner/Suhrkamp

turbulent consciousness, misleading us into taking the idea more seriously than we ought, just as the Murau of Extinction, unable to get anything published and who sees his scripts torched by a poet friend in an almost ritualistic negation of his ability, finds solace in such a comforting notion: all the world’s at fault. One of the axioms of Extinction is indeed that we see the narrator’s whims and perceptions as somehow objectified, for instance, his analysis of Austria as a beautiful land, spoilt by a moronic people, which does seem remarkably accurate as I write this on the banks of a splendid Wörthersee spoilt by the incessant thud of

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The Vienna Review

September 2011


have continued to turn a blind eye towards the instability set in motion by an all-inclusive social integration. Too often, the newcomers “retain the habits and cultures of southern villages, clans, marketplaces, and mosques.” Even so, Caldwell’s main focus gravitates toward Europe’s weakness, not Islam’s strength. Immigrants have filled the gap that Europe’s aging population could not, providing salutary and by comparison reasonably priced goods and services in exchange of a new home. And their home it has become, says Caldwell. As immigrants continue to be naturalized, and their willingness to offer cheap labor grows dim, what right do Europeans have not to acknowledge their guests as equal citizens? How entitled is Europe to claim that its visitors have overstayed their welcome? “The Labour Party has a new ideology. It does not any longer profess to believe in the equality of man,” wrote The Times recently. “It does not even believe in the equality of British citizens. It believes in the equality of white British citizens.” Christopher Caldwell’s book is not one of love, in which he assumes that the peoples of Europe will soon join paths and learn how to co-exist; nor is it one of doom, predicting an inherent collision between civilizations. It is the proof of a collective historical memory that holds Europe’s ties with the Muslim world in suspended animation and, a thousand years after the last Moor of Granada glanced upon his Caliphate one final time and sighed, it is becoming more and more apparent that the trauma of enduring conflict between East and West is far from over. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Can Europe be the same with different people in it? by Christopher Caldwell Allen Lane Paperback (2009) available at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers 1., Sterngasse 2, (01) 535 5053 a rock festival. Yet, the modern world is itself full of similar perceptional traps, as Murau’s denunciation of photographs makes explicit. For him, photos contort a moment into an image, an idea, for eternity. Just think of our absurd perception of Albert Einstein thanks to a certain well-known photograph of a grinning lunatic with crazy hair. As we progress to the second part of the novel, it becomes obvious that Murau’s appreciation of reality is subject to his moods, his desires and the moment. The narrator’s once categorical statements of contempt and loathing increasingly become more tentative, through his confrontation with his sisters and, more importantly, his and his family’s (Nazi) past. He starts, firstly, to become aware that his thoughts aren’t accurate or fair: “What good are the beautiful streets in these small towns, I asked myself, if they’re filled with such revolting people?... For ages I haven’t been able to feel any sympathy with them. I despise and detest them, yet at the same time I know I’m being monstrously unjust. But I can’t and won’t make friends with these people…” And we begin to have the impression that the narrator is stuck – as, perhaps, to some extent we all are – in a tortuous world; trapped within his own criticisms, conscious of their falsity, but unwilling, and unable, to see them objectively. Extinction by Thomas Bernhard (David McLintock, transl.) Vintage Paperbacks (2011, German 1986)

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The Vienna Review September 2011

The Vienna Review

of Books

Drawing on previously inaccessible sources, a monumental anthology sheds important new light on Cold War diplomacy.

The 1961 Vienna Summit by Gregory Weeks In a meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the Soviet Embassy in Vienna on June 4, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy referred to Vienna as “a city that is symbolic of the possibility of finding equitable solutions.” The events on June 3 and 4 would prove how true this was. The Cold War took a short “breather” following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and before the Berlin Crisis to follow just two months later in August and the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of the following year. Managing to organize a summit and bring the leaders of the two superpowers together with less than two weeks’ notice was a tribute to the flexibility, diplomatic talent, and organizational ability of the Austrians, who accepted the challenge as hosts. From June 30 to July 8, 1960, Nikita Khrushchev had had made a state visit to Austria and toured the country at the invitation of Austrian Federal Chancellor Julius Raab. Khrushchev was so taken with Austria and the Austrians’ hospitality that he suggested Vienna as the location for the first bi-lateral superpower meeting. The Vienna Summit established Austria’s reputation as a neutral state and led to further summits in the city in 1975 between U.S. President Gerald R. Ford and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, the Vienna Disarmament Talks, and the 1979 summit for signing the SALT II Treaty. In Der Wiener Gipfel 1961, a group of distinguished Austrian and Russian authors attempt a

broad study not only of the summit itself, but also of the events of 1961, especially the later Berlin Crisis that culminated in the building of the Wall in August. Drawing widely from previously inaccessible sources and eyewitness accounts, it brings new weight to the literature on Cold War diplomacy and U.S.-Soviet relations as well as the foreign policy perspectives of these two nations. At the same time, it also does justice to the role of Austria as a neutral state and to how the Soviets and Americans viewed the crisis spots in the world in 1961-1962. At 1,055 pages, this is a monumental work, and it will certainly be the standard reference on the Vienna Summit in German for many years to come. Well written and a pleasure to read, even with its daunting size, the various perspectives of the authors are well integrated to make the final product more than worth the €39 purchase price. In a sense, the title of the book is misleading since Der Wiener Gipfel 1961 also includes four further sections on the meaning of the Vienna Summit for international politics; on the context of the summit; on the Berlin Crisis; and finally on the Soviet Union and Austria. The book itself is well organized and detailed, including a look at the influence of Peking on the Khrushchev-Kennedy meeting as well as the Laos question, precursor to the Vietnam War, and Khrushchev’s engagement within the context of the 1960-1961 Congo Crisis.

Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy meeting in Vienna, 1961 In fact, as becomes clear from the book and its depiction of the events preceding and following the summit, the world in the summer of 1961 was an extremely unstable and dangerous place. A Paris Summit scheduled for May 16, 1960, had collapsed due to the shoot down of a U.S. U2 reconnaissance plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers over Soviet airspace on May 1. The United States’ cover up of the incident and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s refusal to apologize led to Soviet Premier Khrushchev leaving the Summit, which was thus a failure. Relations between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. worsened to the point of paralysis in the intervening year. The election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and his inauguration as president in 1961 provided a chance to schedule a new summit and to show off Kennedy’s new diplomacy to the world. Kennedy was worried that he would not be able to show his strength in foreign policy and would be viewed

Photo: U.S. National Archives

as a foreign policy “lightweight,” but the Vienna Summit laid these fears to rest, and Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline wowed the world with her style and grace at the so-called Ladies’ Summit. Despite the precarious political situation in 1961, the Vienna Summit provided an opportunity for the leaders of the world’s two superpowers to meet face to face and to better understand one another before the impending, critical crises of 1961 and 1962 when knowing the other side would prove advantageous to defusing armed conflict and restoring a state of mutual tolerance, the “peaceful coexistence” that characterized Soviet-Western politics under Khrushchev. Der Wiener Gipfel 1961 Stefan Karner, Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Günter Bischof, et al., eds.

StudienVerlag, Innsbruck/Vienna/Bozen (2011)

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11.04.2011 11:36:45

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Looters carry boxes out of a home cinema store in Birmingham, Aug.

Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

Opportunistic rioting in England is emblematic of a consumer society, and a symptom of a wider European problem

Rebelling Without a Cause by Mazin Elfehaid It was a balmy August evening in London when, standing in a parking lot in the deprived Haringey borough, hip-hop artist Lefty made a dark prediction about an imminent rise in the local crime rate. “Our community is in trouble,” he told me. “Our local youth centre is closing down because of government cuts. When it does, young people won’t have anywhere left to go. All our parks have been sold to property developers, so these kids are gonna be hanging around on the street. Crime and theft are going to increase.” It didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after our conversation, a riot broke out in Haringey that sparked several days of looting throughout London and other major UK cities. The riot erupted after police officers shot and killed a local drug dealer called Mark Duggan. When his family and community members marched on the police station to demand an ex-

planation, officers refused to meet with them, causing their anger to explode. Race is not the cause Relations between police and low-income communities in London have a long history of tension. In the 1970s , “sus” law allowed the MP to condone stop-and-search techniques, particularly in African and Caribbean neighborhoods. Most agree, however, that great strides have been made since then. “The current leadership of the Metropolitan Police is light years ahead in sophistication and sensitivity from the Metropolitan Police that I used to march and demonstrate against in the ‘80s,” Hackney MP Dianne Abbott wrote in The Guardian, though she admits that bad blood still exists. In particular, black men are still eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than white men, according to Rob Berkeley, the di-

The Vienna Review

September 2011

rector of the Runnymede Trust, a race relations think tank. That first night of rioting was a community’s genuine expression of outrage against a police force with which they have historically had a difficult relationship. But by the next day, as rioting spread throughout the city, it became clear that the situation had devolved into an apolitical freefor-all, with teenagers of all backgrounds forming mobs that roamed the streets to hit up their favorite stores for some free sneakers, TVs, and anything else they could get their hands on. The most striking thing was the way consumer trends seemed to dictate the focus. Electronics warehouses, shoe shops and clothing stores were cleaned out, furniture stores simply set on fire. In Clapham Junction, the only store left untouched was a Waterstone’s bookshop - a fact both funny and sadly revealing of the rioters’ priorities. Alternatively, it could be read as a shrewd targeting of goods with the highest re-sale value. Reporters and commentators were left stunned as they faced what appeared to be the first-ever “Rebellion Without a Cause”. Austerity and inequality If there was no political motivation behind the massive civil unrest, then why did it happen? The answer, it turns out, has important implications for the EU as it continues to deal with the fallout from the financial crisis and subsequent European era of austerity. London, one of the financial capitals of the world, was the European epicenter of the 2008 crisis. The United Kingdom has equally been at the forefront of defining a radical response to the burgeoning public debt facing many European governments as a result of the economic downturn: sweeping cuts to state spending. While many, including the Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband, are accusing the government of cutting “too far, too fast,” local authority budgets have been slashed to the bone. Haringey, for example, has the highest unemployment rate in London at 8.8 percent, compared to the citywide average of 4.4 percent and the national rate of 7.7 percent. According to the Financial Times, the Haringey council has seen a reduction in spending power of almost 8 percent in the last year and has been forced to cut its youth budget by 75 percent, hence having to shut down its community centres. Mean-


while, cuts to the national government budget have meant that benefits like the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a weekly grant of £30 for the poorest high school students, have been scrapped entirely. “The EMA is vital for me,” 17-year-old Lee Christian told The Guardian in October of last year. “I wanted to get a degree, but with rising tuition fees, I’m wondering if it is really worth it.” It would appear that students from lowincome families are increasingly faced with the prospect of having to give up school in order to support themselves. “[The UK is] a country in which the richest 10 percent are now 100 times better off than the poorest,” wrote Nina Power in The Guardian, “and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.” A European tale? Recent research ties public sector cutbacks, and worsening social mobility to social unrest: A study published in August by economists Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth titled “Austerity and Anarchy” found “a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability” in Europe between 1919 and 2009. Crucially, recessions alone don’t elicit social unrest; the key predictor is the percentage of budget cuts. With youth unemployment in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy higher than in the UK, the risks of further unrest are high. As the austerity measures in these countries begin to bite, governments will come under increasing pressure to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected and growth opportunities aren’t choked off, a caution echoing throughout the British media in the days following the riots. “This is what happens when people don’t have anything,” wrote columnist Zoe Williams in The Guardian, “when they have their noses constantly rubbed in stuff they can’t afford and ... no reason to believe they will be able to afford it.” The lesson? While these rebels may have no clear cause, their societies have no such luxury. Needs without means are a powder keg. Despair is rarely clear-headed and this looting may merely be the unsanctioned version of what economists call “pent-up consumer demand” – just without the resources to back it up.

Europe Briefs Still no government in Belgium More than one year after the government elections in Belgium, the country is still divided – not only linguistically but also politically, failing to form a government after more than 400 days. Ever since the failure of coalition talks between the separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), who had won the elections in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in June 2010, and the francophone socialists, emerging as the winners in French-speaking Wallonia, the country has been in a political deadlock. Outgoing Prime Minister Yves Leterme is currently heading a caretaker government.

Spain’s Indignados At least 20 people, including seven police officers, were injured in clashes between riot police and protesters in Madrid on the night of Aug. 4 when demonstrators were stopped from entering the central square Puerta del Sol, a focus point of anti-government protests. It was the most serious incident since the movement began on May 15, when thousands of university students began occupying the square, putting up tents and organizing protests against government spending cuts, a worsening economic crisis and a soaring unemployment rate of 21.3 percent – rising to 44.6 percent for the young. The protest movement, known as “Los Indignados” (the Indignant Ones), is thought to number in the many tens of thousands, with flash demonstrations organised via Facebook and Twitter, taking politicians, unions and the media by surprise. Although the ruling Socialists announced a plan to help those struggling with high mortgage payments, the party is likely to be defeated in elections next year.

Cars burning in Berlin The number of car burnings in Berlin increased dramatically in August, with targets broadening from expensive cars like Mercedes, BMWs and Audis to seemingly random targets that included small and medium-sized family and service vehicles. Since the beginning of the year, at least 138 cars have been torched, more than doubling the figure for all of 2010. The pattern of the attacks, hitherto focused on eastern Berlin, has now shifted West, affecting affluent neighbourhoods such as Charlottenburg, according to Bloomberg News. Speaking to The Financial Times, Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, claimed that the spike in arson had “nothing in common” with the recent unrest in England, pointing instead to a “colourful mixture” of culprits, including vandals, pyromaniacs and insurance fraudsters.

Deepening the EU political-fiscal union German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans to deepen the EU political-fiscal union, with closer coordination of European economic policy as well as a constitutional obligation for each country in the euro-zone to balance its national budgets. Sarkozy stated to reporters Aug. 16 following talks in Paris that he and Merkel want a “true European economic government”, consisting of the heads of government of all 17 euro-zone nations, according to the Associated Press. The new body would meet twice a year - and more frequently in times of crisis - and be led initially by Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, for a 2½-year term. Sarkozy and Merkel stressed their commitment to defending the common currency, a cornerstone of integration on the continent.

Explore the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna Come and get a glimpse of the work of the United Nations in Vienna and get an insight into what the United Nations does around the world. Join us and see our conference rooms, artwork from all over the world, a real piece of rock from the Moon donated by NASA and much more! Mon–Fri 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; also at 12.30 p.m. during the summer holiday season. Vienna International Centre Visitors Service Wagramer Strasse 5 1220 Vienna +43(1) 26060-3328 E-Mail:

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Ideas & Trends

Psychology in Vienna

Dr. Birgit Stetina, Natascha Stejskal, Esra Schroffenegger, Lisa Maria Glenk

Photo: K. Rothschild

The Internet forges new planes of exploration in many fields of psychology, paving the way for innovative treatments

Windows to the Mind: the world of Cyberpsychology by Krista Rothschild shown that people are more open. ... It seems The doors of cyberspace are open – for in- that we get the real answers better online.” formation, support and occasional dangers. The Online assessments, as well as online redoors to research, however, particularly in psy- search, apparently benefit of anonymity. Psychology, have been ripped from their hinges, via chologists have access to people - patients - who technological advances and the Internet. are now research participants. “Online research As covered in Dr. Birgit U. Stetina and and experiments provide a way of capturing Prof. Ilse Kryspin-Exner’s book, Gesundheit people we normally would not be able to - for und Neue Medien (SpringerWienNewYork) example, a research project on drug dealers a few there are many negative sides to cyberspace: years ago,” attested Stetina. “It was also fascinatshopping addiction, cyber sex addiction, por- ing to discover that of the online population, 20 nography, cyberchondria and sub-cultures (i.e. percent suffer from social phobia.” That is nearly animal torture, and other websites promoting twice the general population’s prevalence of 7-12 bulimia and anorexia). percent, as quoted in the Clinical Psychology Re“The Internet is only a mirror of our society,” view, 24 (2004) pages 737–767. confirmed Dr. Stetina. “There is nothing online One attempt to address the problem of sowhich did not exist becial phobia is a program fore, but the Internet by Stetina “Online research and experi- developed is world wide – you and her team: “SKY? will find someone for ments provide a way of capSelfsicher, Kompetent sure who shares your – for the Youth.” This turing people we normally interest.” Now, these computer-adaptive onwould not be able to reach.” groups and others are line training employs being examined, evalcognitive behavioural uated and quantified. therapy techniques to Psychological research, in general, races on promote assertiveness and social competencies at cyber-speed. Literature searches for research, and reduce social anxiety. which previously took months to complete and Another area easier to research online is the even longer to coordinate photocopies of journal psychological aspects of gaming behavior. As rearticles held by distant libraries, are now accom- ported in Computers in Human Behavior (Volplished within hours. Recent research results are ume 27 Issue 1, January, 2011), Stetina and her obtainable for immediate downloading. team discovered that, contrary to popular belief, The newest journal articles are released 83 percent of the online gamers do not suffer online, before the print version is finished. from addictive gaming behaviour or depression. Journals are also state of the art, available only The users of multiplayer online role-playing online, i.e. Journal of Medical Internet Research, games appear to have a higher risk of psychoexplained Stetina. Historically relevant articles logical problems compared to users of other onhave been scanned for widespread cyber use. line games. Nearly all scientific journals have their archives The topic has resurfaced following the online, with articles available immediately for shootings in Norway and the 10th anniversary purchase. of 9/11. Should video games and simulators Further technological developments allow be banned? Controlled? We as a society are psychologists electronic access to many hun- desperate to find a cause, an explanation, an dreds of psychological tests and instruments answer and someone/something to blame for for assessment. Diagnosing mental disorders is such horrors. Some terrorists have used video easier, faster and transportable. One of the ma- games, but naturally that does not mean that jor publishers of psychological tests in Europe all video game players are terrorists. Research is a good example: Hogrefe Austria. Its compu- in this area must continue. terized psychological tests, Hogrefe Test System By researching the most appropriate uses (HTS), are purchasable in a number of forms. for special groups (elderly, inmates, drug adHTS provides several PC formats, online meth- dicts, etc.), Stetina and her team have widened ods and an extra licence for transportable tests the range of technological advances in psycholwith a laptop. ogy. For example, they are evaluating the use This type of technology “enhances the test- of technology by seniors and the psychological ing and extends the testing situation to online aspects of the elderly accepting technology in psychological testing, which increases conven- daily ­living (often referred to as “Ambient Asience,” expanded Stetina. “Online research has sisted Living”).

Continuing on the idea of increasing the quality of life, Stetina elaborated on an idea of enhancing the daily life of bed-ridden people with virtual animals. “We know that being around dogs and playing with dogs is a health promoting factor in a bio-psychosocial way. Virtual reality dogs could be developed to the extent that people feel that they are real.” It sounds like a sci-fi film. “Yes, like on Star Trek – the holodeck. That is where it all came from,” she admitted. “This exists today in research form – a cave – a closed room of virtual reality. In one episode they even talked about a holodeck addiction.” Psychologists can sit for hours on end by the computer – with a low risk of addiction – to further their education and professional development. Further education is possible via online courses, i.e. NACE – National Association for Continuing Education approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or APA’s own online courses. Live cyber-conferences, i.e. the 1st International Online Conference on Psychology and Allied Sciences in November, and other recorded conferences are being promoted. Webinars, such as those provided by the psychological and educational test publisher Pearson Assessments inform clients live online about their products. Stetina’s goal is to make virtual reality therapy an accessible and affordable tool for all psychologists working with clients. She sees the future of cyberpsychology not as field of its own. “Each area of psychology should have its own cyberpsychology - social cyberpsychology focusing on the social aspects, clinical cyberpsychology on the clinical aspects.” Information, support, assessments, research and treatment proceed at fiber speed; psychology is doing its best to keep up. The trend will most likely continue, considering that the younger generation has shown a huge interest in cyberpsychology: At Webster University and University of Vienna, Birgit U. Stetina’s classes are overbooked with waiting lists. Mag. Krista Rothschild is a Clinical and Health Psychologist practicing in Vienna. This is the second of two articles.

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The Vienna Review

September 2011

Bucking international trends, Austrian print media grows

Honouring the printed word... still by Laurence Doering In contrast to the oft-quoted “crisis of the print media” brought about by the Internet, Austrian newspapers continue to hold – or even expand – their market share. According to figures released in July by the Austrian Audit Bureau of Circulations (Österreichische Auflagenkontrolle – ÖAK), an industry association of media and advertising companies, three national dailies were able to increase their sales in the first half of 2011, compared to same period a year earlier: Kronen Zeitung, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten and Der Standard. Kronen Zeitung, a tabloid, remains far and away Austria’s highest-selling newspaper; during the week it sold on average 796,174 copies over the counter and via subscriptions in the first half of this year (thus excluding bulk sales and Sunday issues), marking a tiny increase of 151 on the previous year. As such, its circulation is almost three times that of the second-highest selling daily, the Kleine Zeitung (277,445 copies). The two major free dailies also increased their circulation: Heute raised its free distribution by 35,000 to 571,552, while Österreich’s went up by 80,000 to 248,370. The latter, which is listed by ÖAK as a free paper but also sells at kiosks, lost sales by about 10,000 to 89,445. Regarding weeklies, the tabloid Die Ganze Woche remained the clear market leader, upping weekly sales by 3,318 to 330,373 copies. NEWS saw a reduction of 6,482 to 114,615, while Profil boosted its sales by 2,103 to 65,043 copies. With its continued growth, the Austrian print media industry defies the downward trend in Western European countries. By comparison, during the same reference period, all British daily newspapers but one – The Independent – saw declining sales figures.

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14 Vienna R eview The Vienna Review September 2011

Voices of the New Europe

Dardis McNamee

Editor in Chief, Publisher

Age of Insecurity The list of the summer’s upheavals was already long enough – the Oslo shootings, the England riots, the car burnings in Berlin – when Hurricane Irene roared up the U.S. East Coast and slammed into New York City. It shut down airports, train stations and the subway system and left 400,000 people without power, while causing the evacuation of some 770,000 in low-lying areas of the city and Long Island. Even while the storm was still raging, the debate on the role of climate change was all over the Internet. Most now see the connection as unavoidable, citing the 2009 U.S. “Global Climate Change Impacts Study” that identified warmer oceans as causing Atlantic hurricanes to become more intense and dangerous (www. And while some, like Adam Frank of National Public Radio (NPR) see the science of causation in this case as ambiguous, just the measurably higher sea level alone makes coastal communities in any storm more vulnerable. The insurance companies know what the numbers are telling them: Munich Re, one of the principle insurers of the most recent earthquake in Australia, said 2010 was one of the warmest years since 1850 and featured the second-highest number of loss-related weather catastrophes since it started keeping data in 1980. So what does this have to do with shootings, riots and car burning? Or the teetering financial systems in both the United States and Europe? “We are entering an age of insecurity – of economic insecurity, political insecurity and physical insecurity,” warned the late historian Tony Judt in his prescient 2010 book, Ill Fares the Land. In the 18 months since, safe to say, we have fully arrived. There has been so much going on, in fact, that the Fukishima, Japan earthquake and nuclear power plant disaster in March already feel like a long time ago. Diverse as these crises seem, they can all be traced in important ways to the 30-year experiment in deregulation, a love affair with free-market philosophies, in which government, particularly in the U.S. and the U.K, has been demonised and its controls dismantled. What is perhaps the most frightening is how routine it has all become – both the attitudes and the political paralysis that accompanies them. “The fact that we are unaware of [the change] is small comfort,” commented Judt. “Few in 1914 predicted the utter collapse of their world and the economic and political catastrophes that followed.” In Vienna, this should be a meaningful analogy: Here, the cataclysm of the Great War still feels like a recent memory, as does the shattering dissolution of remarkable society and a political culture that for most of its citizens worked far better than anything that has followed. “Insecurity breeds fear,” Judt wrote. “And fear – fear of change, fear of decline, fear of strangers and an unfamiliar world – is corroding the trust and interdependence on which civil societies rest.” -- DMN

Lucie Porges The little Festsaal of the Jewish Museum on the Dorotheegasse was packed to overflowing on a night in June 2007. For the 80th birthday retrospective of the charmed life of fashion designer Lucie Porges and her cartoonist husband Paul-Peter, with podium interviews, reminiscences, an exhibit and slide show selected works from their major retrospective, Style and Humor, mounted there in 2000. It was a gala evening, the Porges radiant in the collective embrace of friends and family, crowned by a surprise fashion parade of Lucie Porges designs. If she had figured out what was up, she never let on, and sat, her face wreathed with pleasure as she watched a catwalk show covering four decades of stunning creations, borrowed surrepticiously from her own closet and modeled by her teenage grandchildren and their friends, as no professional would have been small enough to wear them. The Porges did lead a charmed life – at least in retrospect. Viennese, Jewish and enormously talented, their traumatic uprooting in 1938 led them on a path of bold deceptions and near tragedies to Belgium, then France and finally Switzerland, where they met at art school after the war. Separated then for several years, they met again in New York, where they married and thrived – he as a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine, she as the designer and right hand to fashion doyenne Pauline Tregères – at the heart of the city’s creative scene. The last time Lucie Porges and I met was six months ago, perhaps a little more, for coffee at the French bistro Le Bol on the Neuer Markt, just across from their hotel. It was a sunny, mild morning, and she appeared, flawlessly turned out, as ever, and full of questions about developments at the paper, exuding warmth and encouragement. We talked about changes here and at home in New York, and about Vienna’s emerging fashion scene, which she hoped we would write about. Then she asked to be reminded on which occasion we had first met – PPP had asked and she couldn’t remember. It was 2007, the 80th birthday celebration, at the fashion show… “You were there?” Her eyes light up. “I will never forget it,” I said, meaning it absolutely. “Yes,” she smiled. “We had such a good time.” Lucie Porges died in June in New York, after a long illness. -- DMN

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Commentary late in life, by looking beyond Austria and his inheritance. But there was a second entity, too, that was laid to rest on that bright summer day in midJuly. For the last time, the beautiful corpse was himself an heir to the Imperial throne. Thus the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself staged a brief reappearance, returning in splendor that was only a little frayed at the edges by the passing of more than nine decades. Its ancient traditions were honoured, its unique mythology invoked, and its farthest reaches represented in a ceremony that transported its participants to an alternate reality, one in which the 20th century, with its world wars and toppling of empires, had never happened. During the course of the funeral of the last man ever to hold an official claim to the Dual Monarchy, the past itself was reburied. Hours before the ceremony started, U-Bahn stops within the first district were closed. ORF television began coverage beginning with a documentary on Otto von Habsburg’s life, which could be watched by passers-by on video screens set up at Stephansplatz, Hoher Markt, and Heldenplatz. Police had put up metal barricades, blocking off the route of the funeral march as well as a large area around the cathedral; the city was planning a mass spectacle. And spectacle it was: Regiment after regiment of exotically dressed brigade men and militia marched in step, visibly uncomfortable in the winter-weight turn-of-the-century regalia, but stoically making their way through the city and to the cathedral. By two o’clock, an hour before the ceremony, crowds had amassed at Stephansplatz, pressing close together despite the warm weather, trying to get as close as possible to the St. Stephans Cathedral. On the videoscreen, the official guests could be seen filing into the cathedral. Outside, flags, A guardsman carrying a wreath: “Thy will be done” Photo: Laurence Doering standards and uniforms from all corners of the extinct monarchy were on display; Hungarian regiments bedecked in the colours of their flag, tasseled banners Amidst the theatre of Otto Habsburg’s proclaiming ancient feudal loyalties, and Christian declarations of ultimate fidelity to God and Kaiser. funeral, the real man was harder to find But the grand scale of the funeral and its requiem mass seemed in an odd way to distract from the true matter – or was it the man? – at hand. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of the­ Viennese Archdiocese began by posing a question: “How can we take our leave of Otto von Habsburg with gratitude and respect?” he asked. “What should we take from his life and death, to inspire us to turn our thoughts to our own lives and our own ­mortality?” Each human, Catholics believe, is created by God with a unique purpose. Though situations may change in unexpected ways, as they did for the biblical Abraham and indeed for Otto von Habsburg, and whatever one thinks of religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, it was hard to deny what must Vienna loves a beautiful corpse – eine schöne Leiche – so the have been an unshakeable trust in God to provide a guiding light saying goes, but at the funeral of Otto von Habsburg, the last through dislocation and tumult. It brought to mind Otto’s own Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary on July 16, it was difficult to explanation for why he had continued to be active politically for tell who or what that corpse actually was. so many decades long after losing his titles and inheritance: If you Granted, Otto’s black-and-gold draped coffin stood in the can’t win a battle on horseback, he had said, then you dismount middle of the five-hour-long proceedings, but the Imperial and continue to fight on the ground. pomp and circumstance was strangely detached from the career “God,” the cardinal quoted Otto from 1971, “does not reand accomplishments of the man himself, a former Member of quire us to bring Him reports of victory. He alone gives success. the European Parliament who gained political influence quite From us, He only expects that we do our best.”

Honoured Dead by Sara Friedman and Dardis McNamee

And Hurricane Irene takes the electric poles and pylons by storm... yet again

Power Struggle by Margaret Childs As a child growing up in upstate New York, I remember vividly the nights the power went out. It was like magic: candlelit evenings on the porch, the whole neighbourhood out and about. “Your power out, too?” became a perfect conversation starter. The answer was almost certainly yes. I was back visiting the family in the northern Catskill Mountains in late August, when Hurricane Irene arrived. Well alerted, everyone shifted into high gear: evacuation measures in the lowlands, bulk food shopping for the high ground; ice chests and camping stoves, bottled water, canned goods, toilet paper. Some affluent homeowners had equipped themselves with free-standing generators for just these kinds of situations. When the storms hit, they knew, power lines and electric poles would be hit with falling trees and battered by 60 mph winds, and pounding rains would cause flooding severe enough to root up trees and poles together. I remember being impressed by the calm with which family and friends accepted these losses of power that, like blizzards in winter, were simply another routine act of nature. Every major tropical storm or blizzard costs the United States between $2 and $10 billion. Since the 1950s, regions across Central and Western Europe have launched projects to bury electrical power lines and replace the vulnerable wooden or concrete masts – an investment that has already saved citizens, the state, local and federal governments

millions annually. Most cities and towns now have underground power lines that are estimated to have paid for themselves in 5-10 years. In Germany, all telephone cables, as well as many power lines, are now underground or in insulated above-ground carriers. It wasn’t cheap, but no one misses the telephone poles and there are far fewer power outages due to weather conditions. In the 1970s the West German digging had been completed and East Germany followed in the 1990s. In Austria there have been ups and downs in the dispute over whether to bury as many power lines as possible, or whether it is worth the money. Low and medium voltage lines are most secure underground, while many believe it makes sense to leave high voltage wires above ground with insulation. A proposal to bury high voltage lines was a great point of discussion at the underground cable convention in Vienna in 2010, and many see it essential to creating a Europe-wide electricity network. Salzburg, however, has become Austria’s model region; with an abundance of underground cables, it has the highest electrical security in Europe. In Tyrol and South Tyrol, people took to the streets last year to protest a proposed power line over the Alps to Italy. “Leaving our imprint in nature cannot be compensated with money,” said the majorty of protestors, but the project is usually long-term and costly. Even the UK, which has been a straggler, is now also moving power lines underground. The U.S. and Japan are alone among developed countries who have made no moves in this direction. Experts in Japan say the earthquakes and storms make the underground cables close to impossible to install and replace. In the United States, however, no such argument holds up in most areas and the savings over time would be enormous. Shortly after Irene, Mayor Bloomberg estimated damage costs of $7-13 billion, mostly flooding and wind damage. And even in areas where the physical damages were not significant, the power outages alone for homes and businesses cost in the billions of dollars. By burying the cables, these losses could become a thing of the past, or at least far less frequent and wide-spread. Although, admittedly, we might never meet our neighbours.

06.09.2011 21:34:57 Uhr


The Vienna Review

September 2011


Voices of Others After so much mismanagement, the country needs to return to its traditions, and to community solutions

Greece: Returning to Ourselves The cigar-smoking clientele enjoying the street furniture outside a tobacconist’s shop on Margaretenstraße.

Street furniture is an opportunity for urban regeneration, and improvisation

‘Stammtisch’ on the Sidewalk by Laurence Doering Street furniture can transform a neighbourhood – for better or worse. The so-called “Enzis” – the multi-coloured, asymmetrical blocks scattered around the MuseumsQuartier courtyard – attract scores of people every day, while their iconic design has come to exemplify an upbeat, progressive Vienna. What an opportunity, then, to re-furnish the streets of my native 4th District, an area that has seen an influx of galleries, tramezzini bars and a bohemian crowd over the last years: some well-placed benches with a fashionable texture and interesting lighting design would surely round off the picture, no? The bureaucrats of the Bezirksvorstehung Wieden apparently don’t think so. On walk-about early this summer, something was clearly amiss in my backwaters. Sitting, awkwardly, on a number of street corners were what can only be called “chair-and-table-units,” for there can’t be an elegant word for these hopelessly cumbersome objects: Four squat chairs, each at a slight forward lurch due to an unusual kneebend in their short, sheet-metal legs, lower the occupant to the eyelevel of a dachshund; their orange-brown, wooden slatted seats are inelegantly – if accommodatingly – wide, but the chairs are placed so close to the square table in the middle, at such oppressively right angles, that it is impossible to comfortably cross one’s legs – the proof of any furniture designed for leisure. Adding insult to aesthetic injury, however, is the choice of location for the table-sets: on the Margaretenstraße, the chairs back on

With its de-facto monopoly, Austria’s national broadcaster needs an honest debate over the station’s leadership

Election Farce at the ORF by Hannah Stadlober “In reality, to them, critical journalism is the enemy incarnate. Logical, from their point of view: They make the cheese, and we drill holes in it.” This is what Robert Hochner, Austrian journalist and TV anchorman, said in the last interview before his death in May 2001. With “they”, he was referring to politicians and with “we”, he meant journalists. Five years later, ORF anchorman Armin Wolf cited this quote in his acceptance speech of the Robert-Hochner Award given for his “critical attitude towards the powerful of every stripe.” An outspoken critic of the growing political influence on Austria’s national broadcaster, he called for more editorial plurality at the station. This summer, Alexander Wrabetz was re-elected as head of ORF – the first director who managed to be elected twice in a row, this time without any dissenting votes. The only other candidate, ORF correspondent Christian Wehrschütz, did not stand a chance – he had not received sufficient political support to be considered a serious candidate. The SPÖ backed Wrabetz, the ÖVP complied – and garnered harsh criticism for failing to nominate another candidate to seriously challenge the incumbent. With this starting position, Wrabetz’s confirmation was less a true democratic election than a political farce, a performance that helped all of those involved save face. The foundation council that re-elected Wrabetz for another 5-year term resembles more a politi-

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Photo: Lauren Brassaw

to one of the few major traffic arteries leading through the district; in the Heumühlgasse, occupants are passed at close range by the 59A bus, at seven–minute intervals; one of the “units” is even judiciously placed at the garage-entrance to a petrol station, directly behind the price board. As such, one wonders whether the tables’ locations were determined in a game of “pin the tail on the donkey” at the Bezirksvorstehung’s last Christmas party. Wieden’s street furniture seemed to break every rule of urban planning, with its emphasis on context-sensitivity and adaptability: Unlike the MQ’s mobile Enzis, which can be placed in myriad different constellations, the “chair-and-table-units” were obstinately bolted to the ground. But citing planning “rules” is to forget the first commandment of urban design: City dwellers appropriate spaces in ways that defy prediction. Outside the gay café Gugg on Heumühlgasse, two girls in their late teens were having their drinks at the table-unit. “It looks clean and modern,” one of them commented, astonishingly. Just down the road, somebody had spray-painted white, stenciled letters onto the pavement in the rectangular margins between the chairs: nonsensical words – or mysterious anagrams? – such as “Gluse Trott” or “Wanooru Yurte-Yorko” now framed the tableunit, uplifting it to an urban art installation. If the tables were illadapted to their context, this intervention ingeniously altered that context – rather than spray-painting the table itself – thus establishing a new relationship with the furniture. Most surprisingly, on Margaretenstraße, a tobacconist incorporated the table-unit outside his store into a shop front patio, setting up a sun-shade, and laying out chair-cushions, a table-cloth, and, of course, a large ashtray. The patio has become such a success with a cigar-smoking, male clientele that it is routinely extended with additional chairs put out by the Italian deli next door, which keeps the smokers supplied with beer and antipasti. For Giulia, the deli’s owner, this was a way to get around the restrictions on outdoor restaurant seating. “The street furniture?” she says. “It’s so nice. Every district should have it!” So, has a vital opportunity for upgrading the 4th District been lost? Perhaps not. Instead, the summer of 2011 should be remembered as the time when Wiedeners proclaimed their independence from city bureaucrats and fancy architects alike. With spray-paint, table-cloth and sun-shade, they made the district truly their own. cal chessboard than a serious council composed of members selected for their expertise and experience in the media field. Further, it is shameful for a party in power to allow a vote to be cast on one of the most powerful jobs in the media sector – with more than 4,000 employees, ORF is the biggest media enterprise in Austria – with only one serious candidate. Why bother, some would say: Most people today rely on the Internet for news, anyway. Television as a source of information, they argue, is an outdated model. Wrong. Despite the ever-growing reliance on the Internet, especially among the youth, a considerably big group of people still receives the majority of its information about politics from the daily news shows they watch. Moreover, most of what appears on the internet comes originally from the mainstream media, from the print press and the leading broadcast television networks. It is from these ORF news shows that one of my most vivid childhood memories springs: Although usually very approachable, there was one time of the day when my brother and I were absolutely not allowed to disturb my parents. From 19:30 until 19:45, they would watch ZIB-1 (Zeit im Bild) on ORF-1. They would settle on the living room couch to find out what had happened in the world that day – condensed into a succinct 15 minutes. And so I grew up sitting silently next to my parents, as we watched Hannelore Veit, Danielle Spera and Josef Broukal present the news. It is in this segment – TV news – that ORF still outperforms commercial competitors like ATV and Puls4. ORF thus holds a de-facto monopoly on TV information as the most-watched and hence most-dominant information provider in the country. A monopoly on information? In a democracy? Yes, in Austria – a country of many contradictions that do not seem to particularly bother anyone – this has been a reality for years. Since none of the private TV stations seems to be able to challenge ORF dominance on TV information any time soon, the question is: How can such a monopolistic position in one market segment be justified in a functioning democracy? “Only through internal competition and the resulting plurality of contents and opinions,” was Wolf’s answer to the question in his acceptance speech. Editorial independence, a critical distance from politics, diversity of opinions and balanced reporting are key characteristics the ORF has to fulfill in order to live up to its responsibility as a de-facto monopoly.

by Amb. Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos The origins of Greece’s current crisis go back to its entry into the EU in 1981. Having barely recovered from the raping by the Junta, it still had a flourishing agricultural sector and manufacturing industry. Gradually, we were obliged to reduce our agricultural production to qualify for EU subsidies and help drain the EU’s olive oil lakes. Meanwhile, EU fair competition rules forced us to close down or sell our steel industries. In the end we were left only with tourism. At the same time the EU started exporting its goods to Greece, in the effort to raise the country to a “Central European living standard”. Of course, Greeks wanted to have all the luxurious goods, and the banks were happy to provide them with the means to buy them – without checking whether the new debtors had the income to ever repay their loans. And not only that: Globally, enabled by lax regulation, banks invented ever-new “products” that allowed them to create money out of nothing, by handing out loans to states and individuals. We have now reached a point where not only Greece is indebted to a point where it can never repay, but also the U.S. and all the countries in the Eurozone. Today, not only individuals but also entire states are held hostage to the world’s financial elite. The EU’s rescue packages, meanwhile, are unlikely to alleviate Greece’s debt burden. Its first bailout and austerity package [in May 2010 – ed.] was ineffective, so why should the current one [agreed Jun. 2011 – ed.] work? On the contrary, the second bailout will double Greece’s debt, from around €330 billion in 2009 to a total of approximately 600 billion. No Greek politician or parliament has ever accumulated so much debt in so little time as the EU has piled onto the country with its rescue measures. If Greece was not able to handle the €330 billion, how is it expected to ever handle €600 billion? As a junior diplomat, I took part in Greece’s negotiations for EU membership. But it was a different EU to today’s. Then, there was leadership and there was a vision, while today Brussels, and the German and French EU leaders, are so consistently inconsistent that one has the impression they do not know what they are doing and why. Meanwhile, the EU’s democratic infrastructure has weakened in a way that I never thought possible within this community. The people of Greece – and the movement of the “indignants” – are angry: angry about the mismanagement by people they elected to work for the good of the country, and angry about the unpayable debt on their shoulders. They are willing to pay back what they really owe, but not what the “banksters” and politicians invented with obscure financial constructions. Now that the whole system has collapsed, Greeks want a clear cut: an honest and reasonable possibility to build up their country and economy again, as they have done so many times before. And they want those who have contributed to the crisis to be punished. Now, the Greek people should start doing what they have always done in crisis situations before: return to the old cultural values of Greece and re-build a sustainable life in their communities, independent of money: grow food on their balconies; barter goods and services; let grandparents watch over their children again instead of paying for daycare, and let retired teachers help students instead of hiring expensive tutors. Greek politicians could support this by encouraging regional development programmes, as they already exist in twelve EU countries, with alternative regional currencies to encourage local production and business, and to eventually replace the euro and the dollar, should it be necessary. Politicians could also work out a financial system similar to that used by the Hebrews in antiquity: they let their economy run for 49 years, but every 50th year they cancelled all debts, enabling the economy to continue without a debt bubble or crisis. Maybe there could be a future system in which banks are responsible for limiting their lending to any state, company, or individual to a level that can be repaid within one generation; at least that would make sure that our children don’t have to pay for our stupidities. Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). A career diplomat, he has served as Greek Ambassador to Armenia, Canada, and Poland, and as Director General for EU Affairs in the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The commentary reflects the author’s personal views.

06.09.2011 21:34:59 Uhr

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02.09.2011 14:52:50 Uhr

On the Town

The Vienna Review

September 2011

On Stage/Opera

On Music/Jazz


Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw; The new season at the Opera

Impuls Records at 50; masters of Swing Guitar at Porgy & Bess this month

At the Bräunerhof, Allan Janik talks about Wittgenstein’s Vienna, Karl Kraus and more

What’s on in September: Eight full pages of food, nightlife, theatre, music & festivals

flexibility, and engage in complex dialogues in a wide range of musical contexts.” Agility and flexibility seem to be the key. The composers in the 18th and early 19th centuries who were the first to grab onto the novel idea of composing for these four instruments were also agile and flexible. And they were here in Vienna: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, as any introductory music appreciation course will say, were the figures who first defined what a string quartet could do. These three composers, while often thought of as the older, the middle and the younger, actually overlapped in their working years. In fact, Mozart died before Haydn. The music patron Count Lobkowitz simultaneously commissioned quartets from Beethoven and Haydn, which must have caused some rivalry and looking over each other’s shoulders. And the output of these three Viennese masters is still the mainstay of quartet concert programming. In fact, few of the upcoming concerts are without a quartet by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven. Playing string quartets is not merely putting together a group of people who can play these instruments. A true quartet ensemble is the result of playing together over many years, developing a oneness of style and becoming known for a particular attitude toward performance. The Gewandhaus-Quartett of Leipzig, the oldest quartet in the world, has existed continuously, in slowly-shifting formations, since 1808. While certainly following the fashions of each age, the developments in musical taste and composition, it is intriguing to imagine the quartet still carrying bits of performing wisdom handed down directly from Beethoven until today. Some of the biggest-name quartets dissolved while I was a student: the Amadeus, the LaSalle. Hearing a farewell concert was poignant in a frightening way: Who was going to carry on? The last concert in 2008 of Vienna’s Alban Berg Quartett, which sat for nearly 40 years at the pinnacle of the world’s string ensembles, was hopelessly sold out. Every string player in Vienna yearned for one last chance to hear them. The members of the Guarneri, another leading ensemble of the last half-century and one of the few quartets with which Arthur Rubinstein played and recorded, remained nearly unchanged for 45 years. Such long-lived quartets are often compared to a good marriage, although (contrary to the Austrian railways) when on tour, the Guarneri often travelled separately and stayed in different hotels – which may be the secret! The list of ensembles for this season is long. The hometown Viennese quartets, of course, have their own individual subscription series: the Küchl, Artis, Eos, Hagen, Mosaïque and the

Austrian photography rediscovered as an art form, from 1861 to 1945 at the Albertina

Page 18

Page 19

The Modigliani Quartet: Philippe Bernhard, Loïc Rio, violins; Laurent Marfaing, viola; François Kieffer, cello: among the “Rising Stars” of European music. Photo: Carole Baillaiche

Inside the art and world of the string quartet, and a preview of the upcoming chamber music season on Vienna stages

Quartet in the Couchette By Cynthia Peck What is the optimum number of people for a dinner party? Some say six, others eight. In Japan, if based on how dishes are sold, the number must be in sets of five. And the optimum number of people for a team trying to get something innovative done? I have had answers that range from one to seven. Which leads to the question that really interests me: Chamber music. What is the optimum number here? While it might be interesting sometimes to listen to an entire evening of solo trumpet, or a piccolo-double bass duet, history, it seems, has given us a perfect number: the four members of a string quartet. Even the Austrian Railways seem to think so. In the 1980s they had a special overnight

deal: “In a couchette, best as a quartet,” the ad went. I was playing in a quartet at the time (two women, two men) and we were amused by the erotic connotations. Judging from the quantity of string quartet concerts scheduled for the upcoming season in Vienna – 62 in the Konzerthaus and the Musikverein alone – it is clear: the quartet is an evolutionary frontrunner. The setup is simple enough: A string quartet consists of two violins, a viola and a cello. And yet, as Lewis Lockwood, emeritus professor of musicology at Harvard, writes: “The quartet offer[s] an aesthetic arena for the four most agile and versatile of instruments, instruments that [can] blend perfectly with one another, shift their modes of expression with quicksilver

Vienna Events

Page 32

Continued on page 19

A city once dismissed by Le Corbusier as ‘ridiculous,’ the Serbian capital continues to reinvent its built landscape

Belgrade: Thinking Outside the Blocks by Christopher Anderson Entering the Serbian capital from the west by car, the Genex Center towers rise out of the horizon and announce your arrival into the suburb of Novi Beograd, across the Sava River from the old city. The dominating twin blocks of apartments conjoined at the top were Serbian architect Mihajlo Mitrović’s vision of a new western gate for the city in the 1970s. Futuristic in its conception, the 35-story structure seems to be equipped with tubular rocket blasters, and an observation deck. This is one of many “moments” portrayed in the photographic exhibition “Belgrad: Momente der Architektur” on the ground floor of the Ringturm at Schottenring in Vienna’s 1st District. The single-room exhibit presents a survey of highlights from the past century of architectural ideas in Belgrade, with the aid of maps showing the growth of the street grid, banners outlining the development of architecture, and a video featuring interviews with some of the key players. Most visitors today may have the same impression as that of Charles-Édouard

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Jeanneret – later (and better) known as Le Corbusier – when he passed through the city a century ago: “It is a ridiculous capital, worse even: a dishonest city, dirty and disorganized.” The great modern architect may not have been moved by Belgrade in 1911, but he nonetheless inspired a movement begun in 1928 and lasting through the ’30s formed around the “Architects of the Modern Movement in Belgrade,” namely Branislav Kojić, Milan Zloković, Jan Dubový, and Dušan Babić. As Ljiljana Blagojević points out in her study Modernism in Serbia: The elusive margins of Belgrade Architecture, 1919-1941, the group didn’t adhere to a mantra of principles, but remained a forum of new ideas and forms. For adherent Dragiša Brašovan, such forms included the airplane, which acts as a leitmotif in his Air Force Command (1935-39). Symbolizing the crossroads of form and function, the structure features wing-like appendages on Continued on page 20

Mihajlo Mitrović Genex Center (1970): a “western gate” to Belgrade Photo: S. Ralić

Pages 21–28

Of Images and Reality by Cristina Rotaru Announcing a deep commitment to fostering young talent, President Werner Sobotka of the 148-year-old Photographic Society (PHG) of Vienna hopes to revive the lost charm of discovery with a camera, and perhaps at the same time, help restore to the photographer community its role at the centre of a thriving, creative profession. It is an ambitious mission, meant to “mainly assist the young and support the latest developments within the range of professional photography,” but also to pay tribute to one of the oldest and most respected associations of photographers since its founding in 1861. In this spirit, the PHG has assembled a challenging show called “Explosion der Bilderwelt”, running from through Oct. 2 at the Albertina. Its purpose: to tell the story of the forgotten art of Austrian photography. The exhibition is successful in relating the story of progress inspired by the Photographic Society between 1861 and 1945. It ranges between various areas of expertise, raw and unaltered, from landscapes to portraits and even scientific research documentations. It is less successful, however, in convincing a technologized public that this is something worth knowing, and that without the history of narrative through the camera lens, none of today’s photographic achievements would have been possible. By 1864, just 25 years after the camera’s introduction, Vienna had already hosted an exhibition of photography, the first of its kind in the German-speaking world. Made possible with the support of local brewer-turned-artist Anton Dreher Jr. – most famous as the son and namesake of the inventor of Lager beer, the event was a success all around. Their private Palais on the Operngasse, densely packed with portfolios, bottles and chemicals of all sorts, served as homebase for local enthusiasts, who came to share the thrill of life captured in photographs, thereby helping to establish a new profession. Amateurs and experts, pharmacists, doctors, merchants, factory owners and painters all came together to present their newly found revelation: Visual art extended beyond the interpretative bias of a painter or a sculptor, and displayed, they believed, as an excerpt of reality. The accurateness and objectivity of photography wasn’t yet in question, nor had it developed the commercial character that came to dominate the field in later years. From biological studies to industrial documentation, an observer’s heaven had suddenly opened before them. Philipp Remélé Döbbelin’s photograph Installations Shot der Fototausstellung Berlin, 1865 flutters with that very sense of anticipation. It is a photograph of the Berliner exhibition hall from 1865 – an image of a three-levelled surface filled with thousands of other pictures, of various shapes and sizes and areas of interest. The sense is of hunger: Concentrated in a confined space, there is no room big enough for all the information contained in these tiny fragments of still life. Its graphic is strong and layered, its composition explosive. This glimpse helps explain why photography was, and to this day still is, an object of myth. And perhaps it can also explain our obsession with the passing of time, in thrall to the ability of a photograph to hold it fast. The soft portrait of Maria Schanda (1933), skillfully captured by Austrian-American photographer Trude Fleischmann, (featured in a major retrospective “Trude Fleischmann – Der selbstbewusste Blick” at the Wien Museum earlier this year) is a wonderful depiction of the age’s nostalgia. Like many of her contemporaries of the inter-war era, the subject seems fractioned, avoiding eye contact, hiding furrows of worry. It appears as though she is suffering from a rare affliction, but if one keeps in mind the Continued on page 20

06.09.2011 22:12:45 Uhr


On Stage

The Vienna Review September 2011

Benjamin Britten’s operas are now a staple of the Viennese repertory.

Illustration: Katarina Klein

Benjamin Britten’s powerful chamber opera of innocence and possession: shimmering clarity, ambiguous and chilling.

With a ‘Turn of the Screw’ by Peter Quince To Benjamin Britten fans, and of course to fans of Henry James, who is still as unknown to German-speakers as Britten was 30 years ago, the Theater an der Wien is tossing a ghostly musical nosegay Sept. 14. Britten’s chamber opera of James’ 1898 psycho-thriller The Turn of the Screw, composed in 1954, is their first major production of the season, with further performances on Sept. 17, 19, 24, and 27. Conducted by Cornelius Meister, new leader of the ORF orchestra, the production will be directed by the meticulous star Robert Carsen, who assumes the added duties of stage designer for the first time in his career. Soprano Sally Matthews heads the cast as a Governess sent by a nobleman she has a secret crush on to care for his two young children in a provincial manor. Let us hope she brings to the challenging role the delicacy and fanaticism so memorable from her Blanche in Poulenc’s opera Dialogue of the Carmelites three years ago. Here, the idyll she so longs for with little Miles and Flora is disturbed by her sightings of two ghosts: her predecessors in servitude, Miss Jessel and manservant Peter Quint (not to be confused with the author of this article), Jessel’s paramour. James himself downplayed his novella as a “potboiler” and even an “amusette”, but critics such as Edmund Wilson refused to be disarmed, finding in it a masterly study of the Governess’ own psychopathology, quite possibly drawing on details of James’ invalid sister Alice. The novella is nothing if not Victorian, and details of the “corruption” these two children were subjected to by the ghosts are kept properly, and perhaps enticingly, veiled. But when the Governess badgers Miles to his very death, forcing him to “see” and confront the evil Peter Quint, over-zealous investigators of child-abuse come to mind. James hinted that a general atmosphere of ambiguity was essential to his story’s effect. The biggest question is whether the Governess could merely be imagining the ghosts – a question that is virtually inevitable considering she is the firstperson narrator. In the operatic version, this literary ambiguity is bolstered by the inherent emotional ambiguity of the music itself. Still, Britten and his librettist Myfanwy Piper had to decide whether to put the two ghosts onstage, and they did, including a scene where the children have a ghastly rendezvous with them deep in the night, thus making concrete what in James’ narrative the children never directly acknowledge. After decades of nonplussed reception in the German-speaking opera world, Britten has been going great guns here for nearly two decades. This production is part of a Britten series at the Theater an der Wien that began with Death in Venice in 2009 and continued last year with The Rape of Lucretia, while the Staatsoper has performed Peter Grimes and Billy Budd to popular acclaim since 1993. Audiences may remember Luc Bondy’s The Turn of the Screw at the Wiener

TVR_18_09_11 18

Festwochen a few years back, not to mention a production at the Kammeroper in the 1990s. Turn is the third in a group of chamber operas by Britten that he wrote in part as a reaction to the restrictive cultural politics in England after the war. For example, the large-scale Peter Grimes received a divided reception from administration and singers, despite the fact that it was premièred to frenetic public acclaim at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. The Turn of the Screw was commissioned by the Venice Biennale, and was first performed at the Teatro La Fenice in 1954 by Britten’s English Opera Group, a touring company that had already performed the neo-classically tinged Rape of Lucretia and the village sit-com Albert Herring. The rubric “chamber opera” is largely of Britten’s own making. The ultimate consummation of Britten’s “chamber” aesthetic was the casting

On the Town

of Miles and Flora with actual children, one of Leonard Bernstein once said of Britten that, the bolder leaps forward in the history of opera. despite a certain “decorative” aspect in his muBecause of his acumen in writing for the sic, “there are gears that are grinding and not voice, but also through a kind of sixth sense quite meshing”. This was meant not pejoratively for the psychology of childhood, he managed but in admiration, as a hint of Britten’s very prito write two challenging roles that, time after vate artistic and personal daemons. time, have triumphantly brought out the best However, a listener may be hard put to disin their interpreters. (David Hemmings, who cover such moments. Britten afforded spare but played Miles in the original production and can immaculate forms and instrumentation to his be heard on Britten’s recording from the 1950s, setting of Turn, a story where demons themwent on to fame in an selves mourn and, in even spookier part 12 a phrase borrowed The most spectacular leaks years later, the ethereby the librettist Piper of pollution in the U.S. have ally brutal photografrom the poet William pher in Antonioni’s Butler Yeats, “the cereseen methane seeping into film Blowup.) mony of innocence is the water supply and causing drowned”. The title refers, unusually, not to conBut slipped into tap water to catch fire tent but explicitly to the glove of his craft is the story-telling techa passion that explodes nique: “…if the child gives the effect another at the opera’s conclusion, when the Governess, turn of the screw, what do you say to two chil- over Miles’ lifeless body, repeats the schoolboy’s dren?” It is possible that the technical prowess rhyme he sang earlier, a plaintive text based on of James’ novella held a natural fascination for the multiple meanings of the Latin word “malo”. a composer with a corresponding technical dex- That her voice only soars so late in the day is part terity. of Britten’s own reticent, nostalgic aesthetic. It Britten decided to intersperse the opera’s 16 seems to be a counterweight to Henry James’ scenes with musical interludes, variations com- more high-strung and ornate literary style. posed in the 12-tone technique (using, however, Adapters never quite mesh with their adapmostly consonant intervals). As in his other op- tees, which is probably why Turn has been quieras, he selects tonal centres for opposing char- etly fascinating audiences for half a century. acters – A for the Governess, A-flat for Peter Although details of Carsen’s production are Quint, for instance – and then reinforces this still under wraps as we go to press, there is litwith his instrumentation. tle doubt that Britten/James will once more cast The instrumentation of Turn has an etched their cultivated spell. fineness peculiarly suited to James’ story, a kind The upcoming production will have Gerof muted clarity that is unmistakable in pracman surtitles exclusively. An English libretto tically every bar – one need only think of the can be downloaded for free at www.opera tom-toms accompanying the Governess’ coach by clicking ride to the manor. “libretto”.

‘The Turn of the Screw’ opens Sept. 14 at Theater an der Wien.

Photo: Theater an der Wien

Nights at the Opera The New Season Unfolds by Oliver Macdonald The beginning of September is always an exciting time. So much is new. It heralds the approach of Autumn, but with the newness and promise we normally associate with Springtime. It is a time of great expectations after the drought of Summer, not that drought can be considered a dominating feature of these past two months... So this month’s column is focussing on the new, and not only at the opera. It also includes the new arrivals in Vienna, who may soon discover the magic and delight of the best opera performances in the world on their doorstep. Now, the three great opera houses of Vienna are ready to fling open their doors and welcome us to the new Season. The fourth house, the Kammeroper, has a more limited role, but still it is one not to be missed. The principal house, the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) begins its new ten month season of virtually uninterrupted opera and ballet performances on Sept. 3 with Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi and Placido Domingo in the title role. Not to be missed, provided you manage to get a ticket. Talking of tickets, newcomers should not be put off by fear of high ticket prices. Opera is expensive to stage at the level presented here, where literally hundreds of talented people are needed to stage a performance for our pleasure. But take heart! About a quarter of all places in this great house cost €4 or less. Daily, students and lovers of opera come from all over the world, to “queue” or “stand in line” (depend-

ing on their origin) for several hours to attend what may well be a once in a lifetime experience of the summits of musical excellence. Within this context, it may be worth pointing out that before the doors close again at the end of next June, it will be possible to see no less than 53 operas as well as ballet and concert performances by instrumental and vocal soloists. This season sees the premières of five new productions as well as the revival or new musical interpretation of six others. Two of the new productions are making their first ever appearance in the Staatsoper, thus adding to the current policy of expanding the repertoire of the world-famous house. Thus there are 42 productions continuing for another season. Some favourite “leading ladies” have taken temporary leave, including Aida, Elektra, Manon and her alter ego, Manon Lescaut, Medea, Gilda and Juliette to name but some. The cast of singers includes operatic household names and many new faces and voices, which undoubtedly include some future legends. One of the many interesting aspects of this season’s programme is the inclusion of both the French five act version of Don Carlos, a production with an iconic status almost rivalling that of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, alongside a new production of the Milan four-act Don Carlo which replaces the more traditional production. Another interesting debate is over the status of Die Fledermaus – opera or operetta. One proposal was that it is opera in the Staatsoper and operetta in the Volksoper. This year’s Staatsoper handbook clears the matter up definitively. Gen-

eral Musical Director Franz Welser-Möst, who has won so many plaudits and much prolonged applause during his first year, has declared Die Fledermaus the only “operetta” in the programme of the Staatsoper. So that settles it: 52 operas and one operetta this season, much more than at other great houses such as La Scala, Milan, Covent Garden, London or the Metropolitan Opera in New York. But that is only the beginning. No two performances are ever the same; changes in cast or conductor can give a work a quite new feel. So perhaps visits once a week may not be enough. One of the highlights of last season was Handel’s Alcina. Last month it appeared again – on the huge screen at the Rathausplatz. Musically and vocally it was first class. Subtitles in German and English would have made it close to perfect. In September the House on the Ring is presenting eight operas. Three of these are listed in the events pages (see p. 25), chosen this time as they are staged this season only in September. The Volksoper’s main opera this month is a production of Rigoletto in German, while over by the Naschmarkt, Theatre an der Wien is presenting Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw based on Henry James’ Victorian psychodrama (see story above). More about these houses next month. Intending operagoers really must arm themselves with the annual handbooks, chockablock with information about performances, seating plans, tickets, their prices and most importantly how to get them. Enjoy the opera!

06.09.2011 22:12:48 Uhr

On the Town

On Music

Launched with Coltrane, Creed Taylor’s Impulse! Records helped make jazz the defining voice of its time.

Back to a Jazz Future by Philip Ellison At the height of the summer festival season, Porgy & Bess (Riemergasse 11, 1010 Wien) took the unusual step of playing host to a jazz programme without a single jazz performer or recording artist. What fans realise (as do those responsible for programming the club’s main stage) is that jazz is, as much as anything, a lifestyle choice. Its history and its vitality, heading now into its second century, are a measure of our modern times. For that reason, on this night the spotlight was on a jazz label and the man who brought it into being. The label so honored was Impulse! Records, celebrating 50 years of innovation in recorded jazz. Featured was a visit with Impulse founder Creed Taylor, in the company of Ashley Khan, author of The House that Trane Built: The Impulse Story, who held court, sharing reminiscences and the inside story on the how Taylor was able to Creed Taylor of Impulse! Photo: Universal Music convince ABC Records to launch a jazz line under his tutelage. Seated onstage, peppered with erudite questions from jazz scholar Kahn, Taylor “it seemed as though Impulse! became the label shared his observations of the jazz scene then characterized by the angry black tenor man,” in and now. synch with the label’s definition of “hip”. Taylor detailed the recording sessions that In reality, according to Michel, Impulse! yielded the label’s 1961 market-making first artists “weren’t angry, they weren’t all black and volley of six LPs, which included Ray Charles’ they weren’t all tenor players” – it just seemed Genius + Soul = Jazz, inducted into the Grammy that way. Hall of Fame in 2011; John Coltrane’s Africa/ As this was a time of social and political Brass; Gil Evans’ Out Of The Cool; and Oliver change, Impulse, remained ironically steadfast as Nelson’s Blues and The Abstract Truth along with the platform for a style of jazz all about searchtwo albums by trombonist Kai Winding The ing and experimentation. Bob Thiele, the man Great Kai & J.J., featuring J.J. Johnston and The who succeeded Creed Taylor as Impulse! chief, Incredible Kai Winding Trombones. These albums said in the late 1960s, “Jazz music has always reall went on to become classics, featuring such flected the times. Today, there are violent, social jazz landmarks as Charles’ “One Mint Julep”, transitions taking place, and these changes that Coltrane’s “Africa”, Evans’ “La Nevada” and are sometimes confusing come out in musical Nelson’s “Stolen Moexpression.” ments”. Adding further irony, “Jazz has always reflected the Impulse! The “‘Trane” became a victim who became lmtimes. Today there are violent, of its daring, of its leadpulse’s linchpin artand its own musisocial transitions taking place, ership ist in the early years cal progressivism. Times and these changes come out was of course John changed, tastes changed, Coltrane, who would and everyone, including in the musical expression.” have been 85 this the baby boomers, got year. It was Coltrane’s older. Some even got musical daring that set the tone for the label’s ar- jobs, and just as the be-boppers a generation tistic legacy, establishing it as the spiritual home earlier alienated the Big Band audience, tastes in of “new thing” artists, building a label and a popular music shifted, with jazz becoming the brand known for innovation, long before the “new” classical music: it was brainy, appealed word branding had ever been heard in a busi- to an elite (some would say cult) following, and ness school. booked small record sales. In its first decade and a half, Impulse! gained With artists on the Impulse! label ranga reputation for great – and some highly idi- ing from Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and osynchractic – music delivered with a distinctive Charles Mingus on one hand, and Pharoah style. With its signature orange-and-black color Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Albert Ayler on the scheme, the clever yin-and-yang-style “i!” logo, other, the stable was incredibly diverse, the apand vivid photography on gatefold jackets, with peal resoundingly broad. Despite a lengthy and a double-wide spine for shelf visibility, Impulse! successful run, by the late ‘70s the post-Altain the 60s defined the jazz “album” concept. mont Impulse! suffered from the “experimental The Impulse! story was also a coup of timing. edge of sixties jazz,” and the label struggled unAt the end of the 1950s, well before the matur- der new leadership. Creed Taylor was long gone, ing of rock ’n’ roll into “Rock,” jazz defined pop- leaving Impulse! clearly in retreat. Eventually, ular music. Miles Davis’ still best-selling Kind ABC shut the label down. of Blue, Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Ornette ColeIt took new owners to revive it again in the man’s Shape of Jazz to Come, Charles Mingus’ mid-’90s. The Impulse catalogue passed first to Mingus Dynasty and Ah Um were all released in MCA, then to GRP, and ultimately to the Verve 1959. Landmark music embraced by the listen- Music Group, part of Universal Music, thanks ing public, these records made a strong case that in large measure to consolidations and mergers America’s first real native art form was the sound within the music industry, a trend few labels of the times. have avoided in a time of uncertainty about the As conceived by Creed Taylor, Impulse! be- digital future of sound. gan as little more than a business plan, leveragThe good news is that with the celebration of ing innovative marketing, strong positioning its storied history this month at Porgy & Bess, it and a graphic concept, set to tap into the appe- is evident that Universal Music fully recognises tite for the modern among young adults in the the significance of Impulse! The company has post-Sputnik space age. Taylor’s jazz community already begun an extensive re-issue campaign, was a vital cultural force of a piece with the “go- which kicked off recently with the 4 CD set First go” early 1960s. Confident that the music was Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection 50th Annistrong enough – just waiting to be plucked out versary, which includes those first six Impulse of the air and cut on wax – Taylor pushed ahead albums that Taylor produced in 1961. with the label’s launch under the aegis of ABC. To follow will be remasters and other cataBy the ‘70s, as the “baby boom” made its logue upgrades set to trace the successive stages indelible mark, Impulse! Records shifted gears, of one of the most significant recording enterand sought to bring jazz to a generation of Rock prises of the 20th Century. But for this reviewer, listeners. According to producer Ed Michel, the excitement only begins there. So long as jazz who led the label into the ’70s, at the frenzied fans have forward-looking enterprises like Imcrest of the anti-war and civil rights movements, pulse! in business, the show will go on and on.

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The Vienna Review

September 2011


All That Jazz Masters of “Swing Guitar” by Jean-Pascal Vachon It took a few decades for the guitar to join the jazz family. The instrument seemed at first to blend naturally within the intimacy of the blues, while next to louder instruments like the trumpet or the saxophone, the delicate acoustic guitar simply had no chance. It took electric amplification to allow it the possibility to speak on an equal level with the others. Only a few names come to mind before the mid-’50s – Charlie Christian (one of the first to adopt the amplified guitar) and the legendary manouche Django Reinhardt (whose song titles this article). Things have changed since, and we can count as many great guitarists today as pianists or saxophonists, and in the coming weeks, several of them are converging at the jazz club Porgy & Bess in Vienna (Sept. 29, Oct. 1 & 2; see Jazz Events, p.24) Styria-born Wolfgang Muthspiel has long been known for his subtlety, his technique and his openness to go beyond what we may understand as “jazz”. As he said to the Austrian daily Die Presse in 2009, he wishes to make “music that expresses exactly who I am.” “I don’t care if we don’t call it jazz anymore,” he insisted. “I want to be more radical, to scrutinize all my beliefs,” he continues. Muthspiel’s latest project is called “drum free” and includes, in addition to his guitar, a saxophone and a bass. And, as its name implies, it dispenses with percussion. Such a combination allows the music to breathe with a rhythmical impetus felt rather than heard. On first hearing (an album – beautiful! – came out earlier this year), Muthspiel manages to appeal to the jazz-purists, while still reaching way beyond orthodoxy: he digs into flamenco and elegant classical sketches along with original impressionistic compositions, in which every note counts and every silence is pregnant. Here, the listener is encouraged to forget all preoccupations with genre or category, and to appreciate the purity of sound and ideas and clarity of expression. One may think here of other poets of the guitar like Jim Hall, especially in recordings with Jimmy Giuffre, Charlie Byrd and Pat Metheny, in his quieter moments. On Sept. 29, we’ll finally be able to witness the “drum free” project, which includes besides Wolfgang Muthspiel, tenor saxophonist Andy Scherrer and bassist Dieter Ilg (replacing Larry Grenadier, who appeared on the recording) in Vienna. Scherrer, a fixture of Swiss jazz, is also known here for his participation since 1991 in the now defunct Vienna Art Orchestra. As for Ilg, the list of the musicians he has played with is a testimony to his reliability and his versatility. John Scofield needs no introduction. Not only one of the best known jazz guitarists of

QUARTET IN THE COUCHETTE Continued from page 17 Wiener (not the most original name, but the easiest to remember). The list continues with the Emerson, Pavel Haas, Auryn, Artemis and Minetti. The Arditti Quartet, which will be performing this fall in the Festival Wien Modern, stands out because it exclusively plays contemporary music. In fact, several hundred quartets have been composed specifically for them. Of the old guard, the Tokyo String Quartet has been around since 1969. And the Borodin is celebrating its 66th jubilee. Vienna’s doyen, the Berg quartet, clearly has a legacy: They have coached nearly all of the young quartets coming to Vienna in the next season. Learning to play quartets, at the world-class level, is a one-to-one process that involves digesting a tradition. “Rising Stars” is a series of concerts supported by the European Commission under the auspices of world-renowned concert halls. Both the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus are taking part, and this year they are presenting the Tetraktys String Quartet (Athens) and the Quatuor Modigliani (Paris). Both young quartets – founded within the last 10 years – consist of four remarkably handsome young men, who look more like movie stars (these are the true Men in Black!) than classical musicians. The Musikverein is also hosting the Quartett.Impuls series, four concerts in the Gläserner Saal, the futuresque, golden glass hall in its base-

the last twenty years, he is also a regular guest in Vienna. Jumping between the musical languages of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronically tinged groove music and orchestral ensembles, “Sco” has managed to create a personal sound, immediately recognizable, in which one hears his deep love for blues, funk and soul music. One week after Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scofield will play with his R & B Quartet, we will hear some of the funkier material in the guitarist’s catalog: keyboardist and singer Nigel Hall, despite his youth, displays his influence from funk and soul, from James Brown to Donny Hathaway; bassist Andy Hess has played alongside Tina Turner, David Byrne and Shawn Colvin and, finally, New Orleans-born drummer Terence Higgins has become a specialist of his native city’s grooves, playing with such luminaries as Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. After the quiet fire of Muthspiel the poet, John Scofield will display the funkier possibilities of the instrument! Pat Martino, another regular, should attract hordes of guitarists, all eager to watch him running through the fluid, endless chains of notes he’s famous for, or using his trademark-lick, building tension through the repetition of a single note or a simple phrase. It’s a virtuosity that seems effortless, all the more remarkable knowing that a brain aneurysm in 1980 left him with complete amnesia – having forgotten how famous he was and, more tragically, how to play the guitar. Slowly, over years, he relearned the instrument and finally came back for good in 1994. On this current tour, Pat Martino performs once again with organist Tony Monaco and drummer Shawn Hill. The classical guitarorgan-drums combo brings us back to the ’60s, with its churchy, bluesy and funky sounds then so popular and, for Martino, a link back to his first public appearance, more than 50 years ago, in a Philadelphia club with an organist. And Tony Monaco’s sheer joy of playing offers a pleasing contrast with the austere Martino, deep in concentration, poised and almost shy. Shawn Hill returns to offer dynamic and strong support. Recommended listening Wolfgang Muthspiel Drumfree (2011) – Material Records Pat Martino Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery (2006) – on Blue Note Records John Scofield A Moment’s Peace (2011) – Emarcy Records Musicologist Jean-Pascal Vachon teaches at Webster University Vienna where he is also an undergraduate academic advisor. He also writes and translates for the Swedish classical label, BIS.

ment. The quartets in this series are younger yet, many of the members not quite 30. The Quatuor Zaïde is a nice counter-balance to the guys in black: four young women (they’re also in black, of course). The first violin of the Erlenbusch Quartett is Michael Barenboim, who is, yes, the son of a very famous conductor. The Amaryllis and the Elias are other Berg protégées. It’s relieving to see that the art of the quartets is still capturing the fresh young eyes, ears and hands of today. My last concert of last season was another extraordinary foursome, the Belcea Quartet. With an extreme clarity and propensity for the shimmering of open strings, they create a sound that is unique. They have a dangerously wide dynamic range, from extremely soft to extremely loud, and can give phrases a majestic breadth. In the words of the late Newsweek critic Alan Rich, it was “a concert to take home and replay in the memory, more than once.” Of all the concerts coming up, four evenings in May might prove to be the most wonderful of the season: the Belcea playing the complete Beethoven cycle. I wait especially for the last quartets, the pyramids of Beethoven’s ripe genius. “There aren’t many musicians,” said David Soyer, the cellist of the Guarneri Quartet, “who can say that they’re doing exactly what they want to do.” Clearly playing quartets is different. And seems to testify that a group of four is the perfect number.

06.09.2011 22:12:50 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

On Display

On the Town

Twin exhibitions re-examine the legacy of an artistic modernist who once defined the culture of the imperial capital

Sensation and Sensuality: Hans Makart’s Vienna by Saleha Waqar of the fame he had acquired through the scandal An intense conversation is going on right his paintings had made in France. At the time, now between two of Vienna’s major museums, Vienna was just beginning to grow into a world the Belvedere and the Wien Museum in the metropolis. Makart requested a studio from the Künstlerhaus. The subject: a once celebrated Emperor and settled into Gußhausstraße 25. painter, designer, decorator and educator. “We wanted to re-create his studio,” Gleis This was Hans Makart, whose “Makartstil” says, “his showroom for marketing his paintis credited with having determined the culture ings.” In the doorway, a viewer feels the vivid of an entire era in mid-19th century Vienna, yet sense of Makart’s world as he lived it. whose name today has nearly been forgotten. At the Belvedere, the paintings are hung theIn the Künstlerhaus, one steps into a world matically through the rooms. Many of them are of objects and paintings in the artist’s opulent massive, covering a whole wall. studio, reconstructed as it stood in 1869. In “For a Makart exhibition, you need space!” the Belvedere, one comes face to face with the curator Alexander Klee says with a laugh. dramatic force of colour and space in Makart’s Their goal was to challenge the forgetfulness of painting of Caterina Cornaro, with the word history. “sensation” suspended from the ceiling. Within “We wanted to ask the question: Was Makart the first seconds of crossing the threshold at ei- just a painter of the Wiener Ringstrassen period, ther venue, you feel your feet slipping from be- or was he more than that?” neath you, as if an unAs we sit down in seen force is pulling front of Bacchus and “Makart defined a complete you into the vivid Ariadne, Klee consensuality of Makart’s tinues: “Makart was era in Vienna. He was inVienna. He had volved in everything: painting, athePhänomen. In this extraorability to influence theatre, architecture, interior dinary collaboration people from all classes between the two muthrough his paintings. design, photography. (He seums, we see Makart’s In the 20th century, was) a universal designer.” twin roles: At the artists became rebels or Wien Museum, we enoutcasts, but Makart counter how “An Artrepresented the fin-deist Rules the City”; at the Belvedere, a “Painter siècle image of an artist who wanted acceptance of the Senses”. from his audience. At the same time, however, The former situates Makart within the cul- he only did what he wanted to do.” tural politics of the Vienna of his day, and the What about the grand parties in his studio? latter shows his place as a painter on the interna“He had to survive as an artist. Painting was tional art scene. Altogether, it’s been a long time expensive, so he had to create drama in order to coming: The last major exhibition of Makart’s keep his audience interested in coming to his work was at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden- exhibitions. Baden, Germany in 1972. “It was through the introduction of fees that On an unusually hot summer day in Vienna, he was able to sustain himself.” Ralph Gleis, the curator of the exhibition in the Another tactic of self-promotion was to Künstlerhaus, ushers me inside. challenge conventional mores. Makart included “Makart defined a complete era in Vienna,” faces of famous Viennese personalities in his Gleis tells me. “He was involved in everything: paintings. painting, theatre, architecture, interior design, “Part of the scandal came from erotic feaphotography … a universal designer.” Gleis tures in his paintings,” Klee says. “Adults kisshimself feels a special connection to the artist. ing, loose-fitting clothing, an uncovered ankle, “The Künstlerhaus was built one year before monks receiving sexual favours, gold backMakart came to Vienna, and Makart was one grounds inspired by church paintings with of the first artists who had shows here.” A total nudes in the forefront, depictions of sex and of 400 objects are spread over nine rooms in the crime - these were all scandalous and sometimes Künstlerhaus exhibition. almost blasphemous compositions.” While a student, Makart left Vienna for I stand spellbound before Makart’s The Five some years. He was invited back to Vienna in Senses, five luscious nudes that were painted on 1869 by Emperor Franz Joseph – in the throes commission, but then remained unsold in his

studio. Bold, certainly, but his true innovations were more fundamental. “Makart’s reputation as a Ringstrassen painter sometimes causes people to forget his incredible modernist tendencies in that time,” Klee says. “He was completely unconcerned with the subject. His interest was in the composition and the colours.” He didn’t “copy” flowers, for example; when painting them, he explored their expressive range. He was flexible in his techniques and used light wherever he needed it to evoke strong emotion. He also painted very quickly, completing 700 paintings before he died at the age of 44. The Belvedere exhibition also includes some of Makart’s lesser-known paintings to show the diversity and modernism of his work. Dante and Virgil at the Entrance to Purgatory, for instance, shows an almost aggressive handling of the paint, reminiscent of the French Expressionists. This aspect of his work is also emphasized in the Kunstlerhaus show. His approach was most likely inspired by artists from other places, Gleis notes, but for Vienna they were new, with Makart becoming the trendsetter. The Belvedere exhibit also includes paintings by Makart contemporaries – such as the transition Classicists Anselm Feuerbach and Thomas Couture, and the Romantic Eugène Delacroix – to show both differences and similarities. Makart was not interested in depicting human anatomy correctly. The commonly held assumption that Makart was dismissed from the Vienna Art Academy for lack of talent or draughting skills is incorrect. In fact, a closer look at historical documents shows that he chose to leave because

OF IMAGES AND REALITY Continued from page 17

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BLOCKS Continued from page 17

spirit of the time, one could easily call that affliction “modernism,” contextually manifested in photography. Far from nurturing a medium of “mass communication” – printing prices at the time were very high – the Photographic Society began a regular correspondence with photographers abroad and began investing in research toward technical improvements. As the technology evolved, so did the art of visual story-telling. Pioneers of the new medium, like Joseph Berres, Andreas Ritter von Ettingshausen or Franz Kratochwilla, became references for those who followed. Retrospective replaced introspection as artists abandoned experimentation in an effort to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. With the help of a technique called collotype printing, a photomechanical process used for the reproduction of early photographic images, standardization slowly took hold. In the following decades there were numerous revised editions of the first compendium of photography called “Repertorium der Photographie”, initiated by then president of the PHG, Anton Martin. In other words, what once stood for exclusive, non-repetitive photography was soon replaced by visual mass communication. It’s somewhat ironic that what was once the fertile ground of technological innovation has now become an occasional recreation for pixilated eyes. But it is precisely for this reason that our digital habits should occasionally be inter-

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Portrait of actress Maria Schanda (1933) by Trude Fleischmann Photo: Courtesy of PHG rupted. Even though photography is now a mass medium measured in megabytes, we need to be reminded that this was not always so. Less than a century ago, each photograph came with a story.

Hans Makart’s The Five Senses, painted on commission but never sold.

Photo: Belvedere Museum

he had been accepted in Munich into the class of Karl Theodor von Piloty, a leading exponent of German Realism. The Künstlerhaus has made a particular effort to show the wider impact of Makart. Displayed is a model of the float that Makart designed for the famous 1879 Silver Wedding Anniversary parade for Kaiser Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth, a spectacle later known as the “Makart parade”. Costumes created for the event are also being shown. Was this all self-promotion? “The Kaiser wanted a parade. Makart was probably the only individual at that time who could organize one at such short notice,” Klee says. “And he did. Quite successfully.” Makart was clearly a sensation. Nevertheless, in the 1870s, the Wiener Abendpost, over-saturated with Makart designs for the stage, wrote: “We would prefer a little less Makart and a little more Shakespeare.” The Künstlerhaus has a Hall of Fame, where a series of portraits of famous Viennese men adorn the walls. Currently, however, these portraits are looking down at Makart’s paintings of famous Viennese women. The men, famous as they may have been, disappear completely in the radiant light of sensuality and seduction that exudes from Makart’s portrayals of women. In this retrospective, the drama and scandal at times overshadows Makart’s achievements as a painter. However, his courageous innovations in style, his audacious use of colour, and the skill of his compositions make it clear why he glowed so brightly on the firmament of his time.

This new style failed to impress the ever-stolid Le Corbusier, who upon seeing photographs of such structures remarked: “My God, how its roof and entryway, while two eagles with ugly it is.” wings spread are trying to lift the entryway off Yet, this vein led to the dominating Genex the ground. The long and slender windows of towers raised under Mitrović’s direction. His his equally monumental National Printing residential complex built in 1975 at Braće Institution of Yugoslavia (1937-40), now the Jugovića 10 may not possess the grandeur of the BIGZ building, resemble lines of type and ink Twin Towers that once stood in Lower Manastains. hattan, but his windows in half-moon and trapThe end of World War II heralded a new ezoidal shapes acted as subtle but revolutionary era of not only political upheaval but architec- element. As the architect remarks in the exhibitural as well. Unlike many of the Soviet-aligned tion’s film: states, Tito’s Yugosla“The socialist and via carved out its own socialist realist archiWhile Tito’s Yugoslavia path, and sought out tecture at that time its own identity, trigrequired residences broke with dogmatism and gered by the Third to have standardized carved out its own path, in Congress of the Writopenings according to architecture it spawned a er’s Alliance of Yuthe Yugoslavian norms.” goslavia in Ljubljana For the residence, he swath of brutalist blocks in in 1952. This meetdecided to integrate Belgrade. ing of creative minds offset windows, to spawned a distancing break quite deliberately from the East Block with these restrictions. and the end of socialist realism and dogmatism, Following the turmoil of the 1990s, Belbut it also the spawned the swath of brutalist grade entered a third era, characterized by modblocks in Novi Beograd. ern industry and an economic upswing, resultOne embodiment of the new style was ing in the usage of glass and steel as opposed to Nikola Dobrović’s Generalštab, or Federal Min- stone and concrete. Miodrag Mirković’s Infinity istry of Defense. Dobrović, incidentally known Building (2010) is perhaps the best representaas “the Serbian Le Corbusier”, built the struc- tion of this, with a wavy glass facade announcture between 1953 and 1965 to embody a new ing more daring plans to come. post-war identity. After intense shelling in the Whether Le Corbusier would have approved 1990s, the relic remains in partial ruins waiting of such designs is a question you’ll just have to for a new plan. leave to your imagination.

06.09.2011 22:12:54 Uhr

On the Town

Vienna Events

Patrons gather for lunch and leisure at The Point of Sale on Schleifmühlgasse.

Photo: David Reali

Grätzel, noun, (Viennese dialect) a neighbourhood in Vienna contained by subjective boundaries and a coherent identity

In the Freihaus Viertel by Cristina Rotaru The character of a Grätzl is revealed by its singularity. Easily distinguished from nearby areas, it is the carrier of a location-bound Zeitgeist – an Ortsgeist, if you will - the spirit of a place set in time, where particular people congregate. The Grätzl’s self-awareness provides its inhabitants with a sense of identity that is not easily shaken off and serves as the playground for all the different aspects of life, and in doing so, becomes a community’s shared home. Once you become part of the guilty pleasures of neighbourhood gossip, of the thousand points of contact, or from slipping a favorite treat to your neighbor’s dog to opening a tab in a pub, an anonymous city loft will never again be quite enough. So come with me to the Freihaus Viertel in the 4th District, named for a self-governing (and taxexempt!) complex of apartments, markets, work-

shops, gardens and wine taverns dating from 1643, that included the famed Freihaustheater of Emanual Schikaneder. Now partially merged with the adjacent Schleifmühl Viertel, it’s the area just behind the Technical University – still called the Freihaus – along Margaretenstraße, encapsulating that communal flair the Viennese take such pride in. Today though, it is the spirit of internationality and not acute Austrian-ness that has brought attention to the area. Journalist Anneliese Rohrer, a resident of the Schleifmühlgasse for 22 years, has witnessed the transformation of her Grätzl, which she now calls a “smaller scale New York Lower East Side.” In other words, it’s been gentrified, but it has also come alive. From Irish pubs to the London food store “Bobby’s,” and even “Babette’s,” – a shop named for the Oscar-winning Danish film Babette’s Feats, based on the novel by Isak Dinesen, and

dedicated (of course!) to cookbooks – each of these places has sagas to tell, and intriguing people to tell them. It was the 1990s revival of the nearby Naschmarkt, the city’s largest openair market that triggered the change. According to long-time residents, the Freihaus quarter was not always the “cool place to be.” Less than 20 years ago, no one except a few gifted speculators was interested in this drab, forgotten corner of town. Now, it’s a Bo-Bo paradise, chock full of artists, ateliers and attitudes to match, with ethnic crafts and eccentric eateries. In a way, it’s a neighbourhood going back to its roots, as this was always a place where people made things. The Schleifmühl Viertel was once the home of the Mühlbach, or Mill Stream, an extended branch of the Vienna River stretching along the right and left banks of the Wienzeile. As early as the 16th century, documents attest to a Schleifmühle, a sharpening mill for weapons. Mühlgasse, Bärenmühle (bear mill) and Heumühlgasse (hay mill lane) were all part of the same group of trades, keeping to their old ways in the shadow of the Imperial Court until the late 19th century, when the Mühlbach was finally drained as part of the city’s flood control. Across the Naschmarkt on the Linke Wienzeile, the Freihaustheater – later Theater auf der Wieden, now Theater an der Wien – was part of the rebirth of the 4th District after the second Turkish siege in 1683. Under the patronage of Emanuel Schikaneder, whose close friendship with W.A. Mozart brought the “The Magic Flute” to stage, it rapidly gained a reputation among the Viennese. Artists, writers and musicians from all around the region, including poet Rainer Maria Rilke and writer Stefan Zweig, answered the call. The memory of Schikaneder lives on, in a style he might have appreciated, in an artsy space and independent cinema on the street that bears his name, that has become a bar. An uncomplicated hipster’s nest at heart with affordable fizzy drinks and shaky tunes, Schikaneder is a students’ hub. These days, much as in the days of the man himself, the students come to the Schikeneder with roll-up cigarettes, funny hats, and a heated round of politics. But there are other secrets that add buzz to the area. Like the Beograd, an unprepossessing façade on Schikanedergasse 7, that hides a shady, spacious garden with tall trees, soft-spoken words and luscious food. Or flat1, across the street at No. 2, one of the many alternative art spaces hidden behind gray doorways, supporting the works of young local artists on the make.

The Vienna Review

September 2011


Grätzel List BOBBY’s Foodstore 4., Schleifmühlgasse 8, Mon. – Fri., 10:00 – 18:30, Sat., 10:00 – 18:00 Babette’s Spice and Books For Cooks 4., Schleifmühlgasse 17, (01) 58 55 165 Mon.-Fri., 11:00 – 18:00, Sat., 10:00 – 15:00 Cafe Unglaublich 4., Schleifmühlgasse 7, (0) 680 238 55 35 Mon. – Fri., 10:00 – 16:00 and 17:30 – 24:00 Schikaneder 4., Margaretenstraße 24, (01) 58 52 867 Daily, 18:00 – 4:00 Flat1 4., Schikanedergasse 2/1 Maria Hanl (0) 664 4572650 Karin Maria Pfeifer (0) 699 12010203 Sula Zimmerberger (0) 699 19411713 Thu., 18:00 – 21:00, or by appointment. Restaurant Beograd 4., Schikanedergasse 7, (01) 587 74 44 Thu. – Tue., 11:30 - 2:00, kitchen until 1am Yet as with most dynamic places, here businesses come and go, unaware of the affection invested in them. Keeping track is hard – and if you’re a local, getting attached is even harder. The café called Unglaublich on Schleifmühlgasse 7 once replaced the Centimeter; the greatly-mourned alternative English video rental shop Alphaville – Vienna’s most comprehensive collection of mainstream and independent films – is now a derelict shop just across the street; the family-run restaurant Catedral simply closed down. Still, people tend to dwell here - perhaps because of the forgotten pleasure of being part of an ephemeral scene and the fascination with history’s flaw of forgetting so easily the feeling of a place. The sense of community in the Freihaus Viertel, secretive and conspirational, lingers on.

Stones of Vienna The Tuchlauben unfolds the history of the the city’s medieval cloth merchants, and a remarkable Bacchanalian wall painting

Of Courtly Love and the Four Seasons by Duncan J. D. Smith Hurrying between Hoher Markt and Kohlmarkt in Vienna’s 1st District, neither locals nor tourists seem to notice the little statue on the corner at Tuchlauben 20. It depicts a man in medieval garb, his legs astride a portable brazier stove. From his blissful expression, he is clearly deriving welcome respite from the rigours of winter. But why is he here? And what’s that descrete Wien Museum plaque by the entrance of the building opposite at No. 19? For the answers, you must imagine Tuchlauben, one of Vienna’s oldest thoroughfares, as it appeared during the 14th century. At this time the street was lined with covered arcades known as Lauben facing the pavement. It was here that garments and fabrics (Tücher) were sold, hence the name Tuchlauben. The arcades were connected by passageways to cellars, where the fabrics were stored. From the early 13th century onwards the cloth merchants of Tuchlauben were allowed to sell imported fabrics from Flanders and the Rhineland, a lucrative business since high quality fabrics were not manufactured locally in medieval Vienna. The fabric sellers are recalled at the top of the street by the Tuchmacher Brunnen, a

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fountain installed in 1928 depicting a merchant cutting a length of cloth with his shears. Until the 16th century the storage cellars rarely belonged to the houses above them, instead being separate properties which could be purchased or else rented by cloth merchants. A rare exception were the properties at Tuchlauben 19 and 20, owned by the Styrian fabric merchant Michel Menschein. Menschein was a wealthy man and a member of Vienna’s City Council. In 1388, he purchased the fabric cellar at Tuchlauben 20, and in 1396, the entire house. In 1415 he christened it the “Winterhaus” and adorned it with the statue of the man and the brazier. In the same year he purchased Tuchlauben 19, which he re-named the “Sommerhaus”. Menschein’s affection for his Sommerhaus is revealed in a cycle of wall paintings he commissioned for it, whose remains were revealed during restoration work on the first floor in August 1979. Their survival was all the more remarkable because the building had been demolished down to just below the first floor ceiling and then rebuilt in the early 18th century, at which time the paintings were plastered over. And there they remained for nearly 400 years.

A Neidhart Fresco at Tuchlauben 19, depicting a round dance in Spring Menschein’s wall paintings would have been astonishing even at the time. Done al seco (rather than the more common “frescoes”) probably by a local artist working in the Bohemian idiom of illuminated manuscript, they encircled the banquet hall (Festsaal) of Menschein’s elegant patrician home. Originally running up to thirty metres in length, they visualised the changing of the four seasons, as a framework for a continuing figural narrative, perhaps echoing in some way a similar cycle at No. 20 that was lost when the building was rebuilt in 1902. The detailed scenes are inspired by the rustic poetry of Neidhart von Reuental, a songwriter (Minnesinger) in the court of the 13th century Duke Friederich II of Austria. Popular also in Italy, France, and Switzerland, Reuental’s overt and explicit poems extol the virtues of chivalry and courtly love, virtues he believed were being eroded by uncouth peasant society. In all, a full half of the frescoes at No. 19 were retrieved, restored ‘in situ’ over a three year period and subsequently opened to the public. Along the north wall, the scenes are related first to summer and then to winter. Summer is represented by a peasant brawl (in which several men are engaged in unknightly combat with oversized swords), a ball game (traditionally a literary convention for the summer season), and the Theft of the Mirror, where a peasant gropes

Photo: Duncan Smith

beneath a woman’s skirt (surely the antithesis of knightly wooing!), and attempts to pilfer a mirror (the symbol of courtly joy). Winter consists of another fight amongst the peasantry, this time for the favours of a peasant girl and using snowballs, and a sleighride of the type enjoyed by the wellto-do in medieval Vienna. Neidhart is credited as being the first to mention the sleigh as a mode of transport in the literature of Austria. Along the south wall the cycle continues with Spring and Autumn. The former begins with the so-called Violet Prank, Neidhart’s most popular story, wherein a man has discovered the first violet of spring and has concealed it with his hat in readiness for his noble lady to find it. Unexpectedly a peasant uncovers the flower and defecates on it! Unperturbed the characters move on to a Round Dance celebrating the arrival of spring, and it’s worth noting that this is Europe’s oldest artistic representation of dancing to music. The cycle finishes with Autumn, and a banquet at which there is much drinking and feasting. A fragmentary landscape showing a bare branched tree with a few red berries terminates not only the painting’s cycle but also this fascinating and rarely seen piece of Viennese history. The Neidhart Frescoes at Tuchlauben 19 are open Tue. and Sun. 10-1 and 2-6. Entry fee. Duncan J.D. Smith is the author of Only in Vienna (Christian Brandstetter Verlag)

06.09.2011 21:43:06 Uhr

Vienna Events On the Town Art | On Sale Vienna Events


The The Vienna Vienna Review Review February September 20082011

Gallery Run This month’s pick of who’s hanging what at Vienna’s venues by Saleha Waqar

19th- and 20th-century Austrian art at Giese und Schweiger-Kunst Handel

Founded in 1980, Giese and Schweiger prides itself on the authenticity and quality of its collection. Led by a team of art historians and experts, the gallery selects well-preserved works of historical significance. “Top-condition is a priority,” says curator Sonja Menches, listing the gallery’s special expertise in Impressionism, Jugendstil/Art Nouveau and the interwar period. The current exhibition spans the Baroque, through the Romantic and Biedermeier to Realism and the Impressionists, and includes great names like Rudolph von Alt, Friedrich von Amerling, Georg Waldmüller, Ferdinand Brunner, Gerhart Frankl, Joseph Holzer and Ernst Huber. They also publish catalogues on George Merkel, Louise Merkel Romee and Karl Gunsam, among others. Giese und Schweiger, Kunst Handel 1., Akademiestrasse 1, (01) 513 18 43

Peter Kolin at Atelier H + K

Tucked away neatly beside Moulin Rouge on Walfischgasse, there is a gem: Atelier H + K, the personal gallery of Viennese artist Peter Kolin. Though hidden, once you find it it’s hard to look away. Kolin’s paintings are like strange, forgotten fairytales, ephemeral and other-worldly, in a style inspired from the late realist phantastics: Thin, exaggerated nymph-like figures of men and women are wrapped around objects, flowers painted in painstaking detail sprout in haloes of colour from the background, fingers and facial features are elongated, and all depicted with painstaking detail through fine brushwork, an extensive colour palette, and a large number of objects in every painting. Most canvases are small, yet incredibly detailed. After studying stage design at the Angewandte Kunst, Kolin turned to painting and has been selling his works for almost 40 years. “I try to tell a story through each of my paintings,” he says. The gallery also exhibits other artists, currently including the Russian Sergey Lukyanov. New work will be hung as of midOctober. Highly recommended. Atelier H + K Mon.-Fri., 13:00 – 18: 00, Sat., 10:00 – 13:00 1., Walfischgasse 9, (01) 512 04 60

David Smyth at Lukas Feichtner Galerie

The huge glass display windows and wide-open door beckon you towards the Lukasfeichtner Galerie if you are walking down Seilerstätte on a hot summer day. Presently, what catches your eye first are bold splashes of brilliant colour on giant canvases hanging on the walls, staring out through the windows and almost daring you to walk in. Instead of the curator, I find the artist: David Smyth. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, Smyth has exhibited in Vienna several times. His work is part of the collections of museums around the world, including the Stadt Gallery in Klagenfurt. At the Lukasfeichtner Galerie, known for its interest in innovative art, 20 paintings of various sizes are displayed in this special summer presentation. Smyth has been called a “metaphysician” by The New York Times, in that he “contemplates the cosmic muddle without trying to explain or order it.” The paintings display an adventurous use of colour and collage from everyday objects and patterns. At the entrance, “The Tailor Talks” is put together with sewing patterns. “The Mozart Sonata” has notebook paper with words meshed into the notes of the melody. Further inside is a painting that is part of his “Master” series. It features actual blue blinds covering part of a collage showing Kennedy’s face and depicting the Bay of Pigs incident. He flips the blinds open, and then closes them again - demonstrating that his paintings physically allow you to see whatever you want to see. In all, one is reminded of De Kooning and Kandinsky with a street-art twist and new tools: Layers of paint and patterns, interspersed with textures inspired from every day life, scribbles on note book paper, but a sense of overall symmetry in the organization behind each piece. This exhibition is a must-see for the freedom of perception and its fine balance between wanton intuition and controlled equilibrium. The gallery’s next opening is Sept. 29 (see Auctions & Openings), with photography and design by Austrian artist Robert F. Hammerstiel. David Smyth Through Sept. 17 Lukasfeichtner Galerie Tue. – Fri., 10:00 – 18:00, Sat., 10:00 – 16:00 1., Seilerstatte 19, (01) 512 09 10

American artist David Smyth at the Lukas Feichtner Galerie

Peter Kolin’s ‘Morgen & Abend’

Auction houses

Palais Dorotheum

1., Dorotheergasse 17 (01) 515 60 0 Antique Arms and Militaria Sept. 8, 14:00 Oriental Carpets, Textiles and Tapestries Sept. 8, 16:00

Stamps Sept. 13, 14, 10:00 Jugendstil, 20th Century Arts and Crafts Sept. 15, 14:00 Sporting and Vintage Guns Sept. 17, 10:00 Fine Art Sept. 17, 14:00 19th Century Paintings and Watercolours Sept. 22, 16:00

Gallery Classifieds How To Advertise With Us The Vienna Review will continue its regular classifieds advertisement section, but now you can advertise art exhibitions in our new gallery classifieds. As with regular classifieds, all advertisements must be a minimum of 4 cm wide and 2.3 cm long. € 50 per issue for an ad containing at least 200 characters, € 1 extra for any additional 5 characters. A whole year’s worth of advertisement for only € 200! For any further information, please e-mail us at or find us on

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Photo: Peter Kolin

Auctions & Openings

Modern Prints Sept. 12, 16:00

The Liechtenstein Fountain: an original watercolor by Judann Weichselbraun

Photo: Lukas Feichtner Galerie

The von Blaas’ – Carl, Julius, Eugen, Carl Theodor und Helene: 150 yrs of Austrian painting Sept. 24, 11:00

Palais Kinsky

1., Freyung 4 (01) 532 42 00 Contemporary Art Opening Sept. 21, 17:30 Auction Sept. 27

Galleries World Press Photo 11 Opening Sept. 9, 11:00 Showing until Oct. 9 Westlicht 7., Westbahnstraße 40 (01) 522 66 36

Joe Scanlan Opening Sept. 13, 19:00 Showing until Oct. 29 Galerie Martin Janda 1., Eschenbachgasse 11 (01) 585 73 71

Dick Arentz: Photos ‘68 – ‘98 Opening Sept. 16, 10:00 Showing until Dec. 10 Galerie Johannes Faber 1., Dorotheergasse 12 (01) 512 84 32

Face to Face Opening Sept. 15, 19:00 Showing until Oct. 25 LUMAS Wien 2., Praterstraße 1 (01) 907 26 74

G.R.A.M.: Hohes Haus Opening Sept. 13, 18:00 Christine König Galerie 4., Schleifmühlgasse 1A (01) 585 74 74

Gregor Graf Fotografie Opening Sept. 15, 18:00 Showing until Nov. 5 Momentum 4., Schleifmühlgasse 1 (01) 22 888 93

Clemens Wolf: Holes ‘n’ Grid Opening Sept. 13, 19:00 Galerie Steinek 1., Eschenbachgasse 4 (01) 512 87 59 Florian Schmidt Opening Sept. 13, 18:00 Showing until Nov. 5 Gallery Andreas Huber 4., Schliefmühlgasse 6/8, second floor (01) 586 02 37 Henri Deparade: Metamorphosen Opening Sept. 13, 18:00 Showing until Oct. 18 Galerie Lehner 1., Getreidemarkt 1/8 (01) 585 46 2330

Konkret nicht Konkret Opening Sept. 15, 19:00 Showing until Nov. 20 Artmark Galerie 1., Singerstraße 17 (01) 512 9880 Julie Monaco Opening Sept. 16, 19:00 Showing until Oct. 22 Brotkunsthalle 10., Absbergasse 35 (01) 512 53 15 Robert F. Hammerstiel Opening Sept. 29, 18:00 Showing until Oct. 29 Lukasfeichtner Galerie 1., Seilerstatte 19 (01) 512 09 10

06.09.2011 21:43:14 Uhr

On the Town

Vienna Events

The Vienna Review

September 2011


Events Calendar As usual, the Vienna Review Events Calendar team presents the latest, hippest, most cultural and coolest happenings in order to make your life in Vienna as enjoyable and unforgettable as possible. All entries are recommendations from the newspaper’s events section editorial staff. The Vienna Events Team welcomes any information on upcoming events: Please e-mail us at, and we will try to make space for it in the next issue. Youths converge and rebel in Simon Stephen’s ‘Punk Rock’, opening Sept. 10 at Volkstheater.

Special EVENTS VIENNA DESIGN WEEK From Sept. 30 until Oct. 9, Vienna will hold its fifth annual Design Week. Organized by Neigungsgruppe Design, the whole of Vienna will be transformed into a platform and showplace of design. City museums and production and retail companies, as well as designers from all over the world, will contribute to eight programme formats, installations and film screenings to discuss the changing landscape of modern design. Most programs have no entry fee. Sept. 30 – Oct. 9 See Website for specific times and locations LONG NIGHT OF MUSEUMS On Oct. 1, museums and galleries in Vienna will open their doors from 18:00 until 1:00 for the annual “Long Night of Museums”. The initiative, started in 2000 by the Austrian Broadcasting Service ORF as a program to promote cultural events, attracts millions of visitors every year. For a bargain price, visitors can museum-hop until late into the night, while enjoying a special bus service connecting several points of interest. In Austria, some 680 institutions take part. Last year, the “Long Night of Museums” attracted 443,800 visitors. Oct. 1 See Website for participating venues and details Adults: 13 Euros; students: 11 Euros; children less than 12 years: free 9/11 SERVICE MONTH To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the American Women’s Association of Vienna (AWA) is organizing a service project for the month of September. In the vein of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering, the project will band together the American and international communities to provide goods and services to those in need, such as local refugees and schoolchildren. Throughout September American Women’s Association 1. Singerstraße 4/11 (01) 966 29 25

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JOSEFSTÄDTER STRASSENFEST When the eighth district hosts its annual street festival, the entire Josefstädter Straße will be closed down for the duration of the festival, whose theme is “climate protection.” 100 meters of sod will be rolled out for a picnic, and the first Josefstadt climate protection award will be awarded. James Cottriall, Tini Trampler, DJ Sweet Susie featuring EsRaP, dieSTEINBACH and jazz singer Carole Alston will provide entertainment, while New York musician Dorit Chrysler will premiere her new album, Sea of Negligence. The Straßenfest also features Vienna’s next Silent Disco, where attendees get their groove on to music heard through headphones instead of speakers. Sept. 16, 12:00 – 22:00 8., Josefstädter Straße VIENNA FASHION WEEK As Vienna bids summer adieu, the city welcomes fashion designers from around the world for its annual Fashion Week. Innovation team Creative Headz has organized a week full of new collections and promotional events for fashion lovers. Spectators can enjoy more than 50 fashion shows from designers including Rebekka Ruétz, Liniert, Bipone, Dukic Dejan, Eva Poleschinski, Mark & Julia, Vemini, Tamara Kopaliani and Natalia Jaroszewska. The official Fashion Week party takes place Sept. 17 at Pratersauna. Tickets for public shows and sales areas are available online and at the MQ ticket point. Sept. 14 – 18 See Website for specific events and times Museums Quartier 7., Museumsplatz 1/5 (01) 585 23 74 www.mqvienna STORM THE CASTLE NEUGEBÄUDE FESTIVAL Spend a few weekends in September enjoying the changing seasons and scenery at a giant open-air festival, filled with games, live music and lots of culinary delights. Hosted at the Castle Neugebäude and sponsored by the Simmering Cultural Association. Sept. 9, 23, 17:00; Sept 10 – 11, 24-25, 14:00 Castle Neugebäude 11., Otmar Brix 1 (01) 664 597 71 22

TheatRE in English

TheatRE in German

LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS In this comedy by famed playwright Neil Simon, meek, spineless Barney Cashman regrets his by-the-rules love life and decides inject some excitement into his life by having a fling before it’s too late. Naïve and awkward, Barney sets out with the dream of being the next great lover. But when he ends up snagging three women – each a little crazier than the previous one – Barney gets much more than he ever bargained for. Tues. – Sat, 19:30 Starting Sept. 20 International Theatre Vienna 9., Pozellangasse 8 (01) 319 62 72

DAS WEITE LAND (THE DISTANT LAND) Korsakow loves tending to the flamboyant guests at her Baden villa. She surrounds herself with characters of great passion that demand her affection. Among them are Genia and Friedrich, two sophisticated figures whose highly erotic games prove to be self-destructive and ultimately claim a young life. A comedy/tragedy in five acts by acclaimed writer Arthur Schnitzler. Sept. 24, 25, 19:00 Burgtheater 1., Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 2 (01) 514 44-4140

BLOODSHOT British television and stage actor Simon Slater stars in this one-man thriller by Douglas Post. Struggling photographer Derek is given an assignment by an anonymous source: Follow and photograph a young woman as she walks through London’s Holland Park. Although seemingly simple, Derek’s mission quickly becomes more complicated, and he gradually transitions from photographer to detective, as he investigates this mysterious woman – and the others who suddenly become involved in their tangled web. Mon. – Sat., 19:30 Starting Sept. 12 English Theatre 8., Josefsgasse 12 (01) 402 12 60-0 STREET SCENE This classic 1947 American opera about intermingling love affairs is performed in two acts and produced by The Opera Group/Young Vic in collaboration with Watford Palace Theatre. Under the musical direction of Keith Lockhart, actors Paul Curievici and Geoffrey Dolton and the BBC Concert Orchestra will perform English-language texts and songs by Langston Hughes. Set for the stage by John Fulljames, this event is organized in collaboration with the European American Music Corporation. Sept. 25, 26, 19:30 Theater an der Wien 6., Linke Wienzeile 6 (01) 588 85

PHÄDRA In this Greek tragedy first staged by Euripedes, a powerful force is unleashed over mankind: Phädra admits her love of Hippolytos, who in turn makes his claim on Arikia, creating chaos and passion alike. This leaves Phädra’s husband Theseus bewildered upon his unexpected return, and he unveils a complicated mixture of guilt, betrayal and desire. The characters, torn between reason and emotion, are but mere victims in an eternal game of powerful erotica, to which there is no end. Sept. 10, 30, 19:30; Sept. 17, 20, 20:00 Burgtheater 1., Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 2 (01) 514 44-4140 MONDLICHT & MAGNOLIEN “Moonlight & Magnolias” is told from the perspective of film producer David O. Selzbick, who, along with director Victor Fleming, has lured writer Ben Hecht away from working on the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz in order to write their film – that other 1939 icon, Gone With The Wind. The problem is that Hecht hasn’t read the original manuscript. Over the course of five days, and fueled by nothing but peanuts and bananas, Selznick and Fleming are forced to act out the entire plot for Hecht until they are almost bananas. Sept. 7, 8, 13, 16, 20, 24, 25, 19:30 Volkstheater 7., Neustiftgasse 1 (01) 521 11-0

Photo: Volkstheater/Christoph Sebastian

DU BLEIBST BEI MIR (YOU’RE STAYING WITH ME) Felix Mitterer’s new play, written and staged specifically for the Volkstheater, deals with one of Austria’s most famous and versatile actresses of all time: Dorothea Neff. An exceptional actress in the early 20th century, Neff’s chief accomplishment did not involve a stage, but rather saving her Jewish friend’s life. Sept. 9, 11, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 19:30 Volkstheater 7., Neustiftgasse 1 (01) 521 11-0 PUNK ROCK These libertine, 17-year-old British high school kids, whose daily worres revolve around passing flirtations and casual flings. The arrival of a new student disrupts their normal state, and the relationships between them soon change. Newcomer Lilly gets to know an arrogant prankster, his ambitious girlfriend, a top athlete and a troubled introvert. Throughout, Lilly finds that high school life is more than just exploding hormones. A play by Simon Stephens about alliances and altered states of being that shape the world of teenagers and the adults they will soon become. Sept. 10, 15, 19, 28, 30, 19:30 Volkstheater 7., Neustiftgasse 1 (01) 523 350 10 EINFACH KOMPLIZIERT (SIMPLY COMPLICATED) Like many of Thomas Bernhard’s valuable plays, Einfach Kompliziert brings about moments of insanity and revelation, each driven to the extreme. Once a week, the lonesome theater king is visited by a young girl who always brings him a cup of milk. Together they venture into the world of Richard III, crossing all boundaries of love, loneliness and understanding. Somewhere between a tragedy and a comedy, the script offers a tremendous amount of freedom when it comes to the actors’ dramatic reenactment and Claus Peymann’s direction. A play in cooperation with the Berlin Ensemble. Sept. 22, 26, 27, 19:30 Akademietheater Wien 3., Lisztstraße 1 (01) 514 44 47 40

Sincerely, The Vienna Review Staff ALTERNATIVE


STONEBELLY Who needs spoken language when you have visual poetry? In Stonebelly, random artifacts are combined and literally spotlight their stories to an audience that frequently discards and disregards them. Beneath an original musical score, bones are swept through sand and pieces of metal intertwine and dance. The different beings they create demonstrate how objects can change and adapt themselves to a new life. The piece is performed by Rebekah Wild. Presented in collaboration with Dreizurdritten Puppet Theater. Sept. 14 – 15, 20:00 Figurentheater Lilarum 3., Göllnergasse 8 PEGGY PICKIT SIEHT DAS GESICHT GOTTES (PEGGY PICKIT SEES THE FACE OF GOD) Karen and Martin have just returned from a six-year humanitarian stay in Africa and find themselves puzzled by the affluence of the Western world and the vanity surrounding it. Deeply scarred by their past experience, they continue to go about their daily chores light-headed and empty-hearted, until a visit to their happily married friends reveals the real reason for their continued state of ­anxiety. Sept. 17, 20:00; Sept. 18, 19:00 Akademietheater Wien 3., Lisztstraße 1 (01) 514 44 47 40 GEORGE SAND MEETS FRÉDERÍC CHOPIN Anita Zieher stars as Aurore Lucile Dupin Amantine, a French novelist working under the pseudonym George Sand. An unconventional woman, she wears mens clothing and takes on numerous lovers – her most famous being Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. Through original quotes and Chopin’s music, a story has been woven together to reflect the passionate and tumultuous effect the pair of lovers had on each other. Directed by Brigitte Pointner, with Werner Lemberg on piano. Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, 20:00 Theater Drachengasse 1., Fleischmarkt 22 (01) 513 14 44

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THREE CENTURIES OF PHOTOGRAPHY This exhibit shows 200 historic photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries from the SPUTNIK project, as well as contemporary photographic works from the collections of Andra Spallart and curator and artist Fritz Simak himself. Through Oct. 1 Mon. – Sun., 10:00 – 18:00 Thu., 10:00 – 21:00 Closed Tuesdays Leopold Museum 7., Museumsplatz 1 (01) 525 700


GODS, MAN & GREEK MONEY The Coin Collection and the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the city of Winterthur collaborate with Greek coins, focusing on economic aspects and iconographic language. Through Oct. 16 Tue. – Sun., 10:00 – 18:00 Thu., 10:00 – 21:00 Kunsthistorisches Museum 1., Maria Theresien-Platz (01) 525 24 4025

PICTURES UNBOUND: PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY IN VIENNA, 1861–1945 The Albertina shows 260 examples of Austrian photography spanning 86 years and ranging from the fields of art and science to innovative applications of commercial photography. The photographs on exhibit were taken by members of the Photographic Society in Vienna, whose foundation in 1861 marked the beginning of the professionalization of photography and further led to the foundation of the Graphische Lehr – and Versuchsanstalt as the first institution of its kind in the world. The society as a whole was rather unique due to its catalog of members, each with his or her own photographic strategies, goals and ideologies. Rather than create divides, these differences encouraged members to experiment with techniques, which paved the way for many modern photographic innovations. Through Oct. 2 Daily, 10:00 – 19:00 Wed., 10:00 – 21:00 Albertina 1., Albertinaplatz 1 (01) 543 83 0

ALEXANDER BRODSKY Known as one of the most prominent proponents of the Russian “paper architects,” Brodsky’s work is characterized by a rejection of the mainstream, a criticism of his country’s system and the search for a new Russian identity. Through Oct. 3 Architecture Center, Old Hall 7., Museumsplatz 1 Daily 10:00 – 19:00 (01) 522 31 15-32

LE SURRÉALISME, C´EST MOI! Salvador Dalí, one of the most eccentric and controversial figures of 20th century art, is known for his vision of Surrealism, which he saw as the aesthetic fusion of dream and reality. He painted in a way that disregarded socially accepted boundaries and instead pushed at them, often provoking public ire. In an effort to reassess the artist’s controversial and often provocative oeuvre in the mirror of present-day art, 70 selected works by Salvador Dalí are juxtaposed with works from French-American sculptor and artist Louise Bourgeois, British surrealist Glenn Brown, Markus Schinwald and Francesco Vezzoli. These paintings, sculptures, drawings, films and video works conflict and contrast with one another, drawing out the history, tradition, thought process and rebellion behind each work - and within each artist. Through Oct. 23 Tue. – Sat., 13:00 – 24:00 Sun., Mon., 13:00 – 19:00 Kunsthalle Wien, project space 4., Treitlstraße 2 (01) 521 890

JOSEF DANHAUSER – PICTORIAL NARRATIVES The Belvedere devotes an exhibition to Josef Danhauser (1805-1845), the storyteller. The exhibition’s goal of transforming the content of literary text into pictorial narratives through the visualization of movements, gestures and facial expressions allows each visitor to appreciate the humour and satire behind them. On display are several of his most famous pieces. Through Sept. 25 Daily, 10:00 – 18:00 Wed., 10:00 – 21:00 Lower Belvedere & Orangery 3., Rennweg 6 (01) 795 56-0

On the Town THE 1960s: FANTASTIC MODERNISM MUSA continues its collection of contemporary art with works from the 1960s. One of the largest collections of contemporary art in Austria, with 23,000 works of 4,000 artists. Through Oct. 15 Tue. – Fri., 11:00 – 18:00 Thu., 11:00 – 20:00 Sat., 11:00 – 16:00 MUSA 1., Felderstraße 6-8 (01) 4000-8400 MAKART REVISITED Two separate exhibits reflect Makart’s take on the emerging industrial age. “Painter of the Senses” Through Oct. 9 Daily, 10:00 – 18:00, Wed., 10:00 – 21:00 Lower Belvedere, Orangery 3., Rennweg 6 (01) 795 56-0 “An Artist Rules the City” Through Oct. 16 Daily, 10:00 – 18:00, Thurs., 10:00 – 21:00 Wien Museum 1., Karlsplatz 5 (01) 505 87 47-0

HUNDERTWASSER – ART OF THE GREEN PATH With this exhibition, Kunst Haus Wien honors the artist upon whose philosophy and artistic principles this institution is largely based. For its 20th anniversary, the art museum presents a special exhibition project, devoting the whole museum to the life, work and philosophy of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a Viennese artist and architect who was not only an innovative artist but also an ecological visionary and political activist. Living by the belief that “the straight line is godless,” Hundertwasser sought to create art and architecture that rose and curved with its surroundings, instead of violating or aggravating them. Now, in celebration of his endeavours, visitors can explore the facets of Hundertwasser’s life along 13 stations that include documentary material, photo series and key works on display for the first time. Through Nov. 6 Kunst Haus Wien Daily, 10:00 – 19:00 3., Untere Weißgerberstraße 13 (01) 712 04 91 Photo:


Vienna Events

Ich war noch niemal in New York

September 2011

Photo: G. Durham

The Vienna Review



From left to right: Anna Pawlowa, by Dora Kallmus and Arthur Benda, part of the Albertina’s ‘A World of Pictures Unbound’ exhibit; Eduardo Angeli’s The So-Called Death of Suleiman at MUSA; Britain’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis; Nikolaus Korab’s 1998 portrait of Otto Grünmandl, on display at the Leopold Museum as part of its ‘Magic of the Object’ exhibition.

JAZZ CONCERTS GANSCH & ROSES Owing as much to the tradition of New Orleans jazz as to Charles Mingus and Austrian folk music, this Austrian group led by trumpeter Thomas Gansch is known for their contagious onstage fun. Sept. 13, 20:30 Porgy & Bess 1., Riemergasse 11 (01) 512 88 11 BRING YOUR INSTRUMENTS & JAM! Ever wanted to let out the Ella Fitzgerald or the Dizzy Gillespie in you? Ever wanted to feel the atmosphere of an intimate jazz club from the stage? You can now do it every Tuesday. Accompanied by fellow musicians, closeted jazzwomen and jazzmen now have the chance to unleash their hidden musical talent. Tuesdays, 19:30 ZWE 2., Floßgasse 4 (0) 676 547 4764 DANNY CHICAGO & THE LUCKY BAND With an ear for the eclectic, Danny Chicago mixes country, reggae, blues, ballads and funk up into savory creations. His song titles, such as “Boogie Down the Gürtel” and “Why Won’t The Austrians Dance?” Sept. 22, 21:00 Tunnel 8., Florianigasse 80 (01) 405 34 65

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THE KLEZMATICS The recent revival of klezmer music owes a lot to the New York-based ensemble The Klezmatics. Lead by charismatic singer, accordionist and pianist Lorin Sklamberg, this ensemble has performed their contagiously dynamic mix of traditional Jewish music, jazz, ska and crossover musical styles around the world. Sept. 26, 20:00 Reigen 14., Hadikgasse 62 (01) 894 900 94 ALEX CECH QUARTET Enjoy a night of energetic, New York-style jazz with this quartet. Alex Cech, on drums, will lead a stellar group comprising saxophonist Ray Aichinger, pianist Sava Miletic and bassist Michi Kröss. The quartet will perform original compositions and Klemens Marktl songs. Sept. 25, 21:00 Tunnel 8., Florianigasse 80 (01) 405 34 65 JONNY BLUE A mellow singer who is proficient on the guitar, autoharp and banjo, fans of Jonny Blue may anticipate him to sing jazz laced with American folk music, gospel and Latin American pop – maybe even an Irish drinking song or two. With Lisa Rabel on vocals, guitar and bouzouki, and Werner Totzauer on vocals and bass. Sept. 17, 21:00 Tunnel 8., Florianigasse 80 (01) 405 34 65

HANNES KASEHS BLUES TRIO This trio – featuring Hannes Kasehs on guitar and vocals, Christa Kasehs on bass and vocals and Tom Hirschler on drums – has released five albums over a 10-year stretch and strums out plenty of roadweary, “I left my baby/my baby left me” blues worthy of any juke joint on Beale Street. With warm, spritely beats and spare, lonely picking alike, the trio’s brand of blues appeals to anyone, whether you have a spring in your step or a tear in your beer. Sept. 30, 21:00 Louisiana Blues Pub 4., Prinz-Eugen-Straße 4 (01) 503 50 01 HERB GELLER QUARTET FEAT. FRITZ PAUER In his 60+ year career, American jazz composer and musician Herb Geller has played with such esteemed musicians as Benny Goodman, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Joe Pass and Chet Baker. He has called California, Brazil, France and Germany home, and he is considered as one of the best alto saxophonists fluent in the West Coast “cool” style of jazz music. (Appropriately, he is a native of Los Angeles.) At 82 years old, Geller is still as active as ever, and for his concert in Vienna, he will play with one of Europe’s best pianists around: Vienna’s own Fritz Pauer. Sept. 20, 20:30 Porgy & Bess 1., Riemergasse 11 (01) 512 88 11

CONCERTS POP/ROCK GLEN HANSARD Fans of the 2006 Academy Award-winning independent film “Once” will be overjoyed to welcome its star Glen Hansard to Vienna. The Irish balladeer is one-fifth of the band The Frames, and one-half of folk rock duo The Swell Season with his “Once” costar Markéta Irglová. He will play an intimate gig with a backing band, bringing his collection of expressive acoustic pop-rock (and possibly some favorite Van Morrison covers) to Porgy & Bess. Sept. 28, 20:30 Porgy & Bess 1., Riemergasse 11 (01) 512 88 11 KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS The Durham siblings certainly don’t let the British Isles limit their sound. Influenced by blues, Western, R&B, jazz, swing and Hawaiian music, the trio has spent the last few years gradually building its fanbase and carving out its unique place within pop music. Contributing to their oldsoul sound are their multi-instrumentalist skills, inclusion of piano, accordion and smoky vocals, and their avoidance of using digital recorders - they prefer the sound, richer quality and charm of recording on older equipment. Sept. 25, 20:00 Arena Wien 3., Baumgasse 80 (01) 798 85 95

OWL CITY What began as a one-man project to combat insomnia, in 2009 took the airwaves by storm. 25-year-old Adam Young combines ambient sounds and occasional acoustics to create an electronic sound more akin to sailing than trancing. Influenced by pop and disco, and an obvious fan of the Postal Service, Owl City relies on synths and sharp lyrics to appeal to the masses. Sept. 28, 19:00 Arena Wien 3., Baumgasse 80 (01) 798 85 95 TINARIWEN This Saharan band was founded in 1979 in one of Moammar Gadhafi’s Libyan refugee camps. With influences from Moroccan music to Bollywood pop Elvis Presley, this multigenerational band brings to Vienna its “African blues.” Sept. 7, 20:00 WUK 8., Währingerstraße 59 (01) 401 210 NAZAR A year after announcing his “retirement,” Vienna’s own Nazar returned to music. The Iranian-born rapper nearly pulled the plug after his previous record was leaked before its release date, but its success sent him back into the studio – and even onto movie screens. So much for retirement. Sept. 30, 22:00 Szene 11., Hauffgasse 26 (01) 749 17 75

JOSH GROBAN Mr. Angel Voice is bringing his famous pipes to Vienna. After 10 years and more than 20 million records sold, Josh Groban’s versatile singing career has covered classical, opera, pop and even parody songs. Now with five albums (and a recent comedic movie cameo) under his belt, Groban is expanding his repertoire by collaborating with such diverse musicians as Imogen Heap, Barbara Streisand and Carlinhos Brown - completely standard for a man whose voice (too low to be considered a tenor, too high to be a baritone) literally needs its own category. Sept. 14, 20:00 Wiener Konzerthaus 3., Lothringerstraße 20 (01) 242 00-0 THE RAW MEN EMPIRE This Israeli folk band is charismatic, cheeky and carefree, a combination that has produced both irreverent songs and fervent fans. They primarily play on acoustic instruments but have never hesitated to mix in a bouncing horn section and extra singalong voices whenever the occasion calls for it. Their energetic live shows include progressive and alt rock in a low-fi setting, and the intimate setting at Salon Goldschlag (along with the band’s claim to “make happy music for sad people, and vice versa”) ensures listeners are in for a close-up and unpredictable musical experience. Sept. 11, 20:00 Salon Goldschlag 15., Goldschlagstraße 70

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SISTER ACT “Sister Act” finally receives its Austrian premiere. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, tag along as lounge singer-turned-gangster’s target Deloris shakes up the Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith. Starts Sept. 15, Mon. – Sat., 19:30; Sun., 18:00 No Wednesday performances Ronacher Theater 1., Seilerstätte 9 (01) 588 85

MARIE ANTOINETTE The grace and tragedy of Habsburg-born Marie Antoinette’s life plays out on the Volksoper stage in this ballet. The 15th child of Empress Maria Theresia, Marie Antoinette was a poorly educated, music-loving, philanthropic, gambling spendthrift whose Austrian roots created swells of mistrust in French society. Set to period music, the ballet gracefully unfolds a rocky story and showcases her tumultuous tale all the way from the Hofburg to the Parisian guillotine. Sept. 21, 28, 19:00 Volksoper 9., Währinger Straße 78 (01) 514 44 3 670

BALANCHINE & ROBBINS In a program spliced with works by the Russian George Balanchine and the American Jerome Robbins, French choreographer (and recently retired dancer) Manuel Legris pulls together pieces of each of the three choreographer’s diverse background and blends neo-classical ballet with New York avant-garde dance. Sept. 23, 26, 30, 20:00 Staatsoper 1., Opernring 2 (01) 514 442 250 BAILA VIENA CUBAN SALSA FESTIVAL Can you handle the heat of a whole weekend of salsa? The second annual Baila Viena is a four-day fest in which participants can enjoy percussion shows, dinner, DJ’s and workshops covering casino, mambo, rumba, rueda and – of course – salsa dancing. Passes are for sale for after-parties to allinclusive and all the mad-dash mayhem in between. Sept. 8-11 Don Bosco Haus 13., St. Veit-Gasse 25 (01) 878 39 0

September 2011

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS Richard Strauss takes Moliere to Vienna and shows how to stage an opera and a play when time is of the essence: Put them on together. We see the preparations backstage in a prologue and then both staged together in a one-act performance. Prior study is recommended. Sept. 7, 10, 14, 19:30; Sept. 12, 19:00 Wiener Staatsoper 1., Opernring 2 (01) 514 44 2250

FALSTAFF We never hear about the Shakespeare cycle in Verdi like the Da Ponte cycle in Mozart (which isn’t one, either). “Otello” is the best known, “Macbeth” is difficult and “Falstaff” is unrepentant fun, particularly in this wonderful, psychedelically colored production by Marco Marelli. Ambrogio Maestri has made the title role his, to the never-ending delight of his audiences. Sept. 15, 18, 21, 19:00; Sept. 24, 19:30 Wiener Staatsoper 1., Opernring 2 (01) 514 44 2250

DON GIOVANNI The new production by JeanLouis Martinoty is so full of ephemera and symbolism that it may distract from the fast-paced comic tragedy or adversely affect its digestion. Patrick Lange conducts a topnotch cast, with Bo Skovus as the Don and newcomer Myrto Papatanasiu as Donna Anna. Sept. 13, 25, 18:30; Sept. 17, 22, 19:00 Wiener Staatsoper 1., Opernring 2 (01) 514 44 2250

RIGOLETTO One never gets tired of “Rigoletto”, one of Verdi’s best loved operas. When it is not sung in Italian and is presented in a thoroughly modern production, a traditionalist may experience some fervent exasperation. But La Donna e mobile is full of it, anyway. Or is that desperation? It continues to pack the house. Sept. 15, 19, 26, 29, 19:00 Volksoper 9., Währinger Straße 78 (01) 514 44 3670



THE TURN OF THE SCREW Benjamin Britten’s two-act opera is from Henry James’ Victorian novel about two orphaned children in a remote and haunted country house and their governess who sees ghosts of the childrens’ former caretakers. As the spirits’ appearances become more frequent and they exercize increasing power over the children, the governess fights them to retain control of the children. The tale is a continuum of conflicting images of innocence and evil, emotion and duty, and what is real and what is imaginary. The plot is always ambiguous and uncertain. Much is left up to the imagination. Although set in the middle of the 19th century, could something similar happen in Vienna today? This new production is a challenging start to an exciting season at Theater an der Wien. It is conducted by Cornlius Meister and directed by Robert Carsen, and is performed in English. See page 18 for more details. Sept. 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, 19:30 Theater an der Wien 6., Linke Wienzeile 6 (01) 588 30 660


ICH WAR NOCH NEIMALS IN NEW YORK (I’VE NEVER BEEN TO NEW YORK) Two older lovers escape their retirement facility in hopes of getting married beneath the American symbol of freedom: the Statue of Liberty. Their kids find out and give chase. Through March 2012 Tue. – Sat., 19:30; Sun., 18:00 Raimund Theater 6., Wallgasse 18-20 (01) 588 302 00

HELLO, DOLLY! Dolly Levi is meddlesome, manipulative and devilishly charming. The self-appointed fix-it has taken it upon herself to find a suitable wife for Horace Vandegelder. But all along, Dolly never stops scheming, for she already knows his perfect match: herself. Sept. 17, 18, 24, 19:00 Volksoper 9., Währinger Straße 78 (01) 514 44 3 670

The Vienna Review

Photo: Brinkhoff, Mögenburg/Stage Ent.


Vienna Events


On the Town

From left to right: Dolly Levi tangles with Horace Vandegelder in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ playing at the Volkstheater; ‘Sister Act’ makes its Austrian debut at the Ronacher Theater; the Red Room offers a tranquil club experience in a vibrant setting; ‘Henry IV’ and ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ combine to form the story of the opera ‘Falstaff’, at the Staatsoper.

CLASSICAL CONCERTS HUMMEL AT THE OPERA In his time – and even in his youth – Johann Nepomuk Hummel was an incomparable piano virtuoso. Mozart trained and even accommodated him for two years, Haydn recommended him to the Esterházys upon his retirement from their service, and Liszt and Schumann both wanted to study with him. Even Beethoven considered him a musical rival. This program honoring his work features Madoka Inui on piano, with Elfried Ott, Bo Skovhus and Tibor Kovác rounding out the backing group. Sept. 11, 11:00 ORF RadioKulturhaus, Großer Sendesaal 4., Argentinierstraße 30a THEATER AN DER WIEN: SEASON OPENING CONCERT Celebrate Theater an der Wien’s opening night with Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, two virtuosic musical theater works of the early 20th century. Both evoke cabaret with narration, singing and dancing. Conducted by Michael Boder, the Klangforum Wien also performs alongside a star cast featuring Christine Schäfer, Michael Maertens, Tobias Moretti and Karl Markovics. Sept. 13, 19:30 Theater an der Wien 6., Linke Wienzeile 6 (01) 588 85

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HOLLYWOOD IN VIENNA 2011 Vienna’s traditional film music gala will this year feature the Vienna Konzerthaus transformed into the Hollywood Bowl, the largest natural amphitheater in the U.S. In the vein of this year’s theme “Magic Moments,” the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna will perform pieces from a diverse array of films such as E.T., How to Train Your Dragon and Hook, as well as offer a farewell to the Harry Potter film series. The Max Steiner Award, named for and honoring the famed Austrian film composer, will also be presented to Alan Silvestri, composer of the music for more than 100 films, including Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. Sept. 23, 19:30 Konzerthaus, Großer Saal 3., Lothringerstraße 20 (01) 242 002 TCHAIKOVSKY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF MOSCOW The epitome of Russian music is presented for three consecutive evenings through a different Tchaikovsky concerto and Shostakovich symphony. With the storied Musikverein playing host and giving the event a romantic, elegant ambience, the famed Russian conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev will direct, with 29-year-old German prodigy Arabella Steinbacher featured on violin. Sept. 25–27, 19:30 Musikverein, Großer Saal 1., Bösendorferstraße 12 (01) 505 81 90

KLANGFORUM WIEN Johannes Kalitzke conducts Vienna’s virtuosic contemporary music ensemble with a program of “classical” avant garde: Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xenakis, Igor Stravinsky and Helmut Lachenmann. Two pieces from the 1920s and two from the 1980s are intertwined in the program and bring a balanced view of the last century. Sept. 29, 19:30 Konzerthaus, Mozart-Saal 3., Lothringerstraße 20 (01) 242 002 SCHÖNBERG / MAHLER ENSEMBLE A program featuring the Ensemble Kontrapunkte, under the direction of Peter Keuschnig, performing two pieces: Klaus Simon’s chamber orchestra version of Gustav Mahler’s 1st Symphony, and a John Schöllhorn arrangement of Schönberg’s 34th Opus. Sept. 22, 19:30 Arnold Schönberg Center 3., Zaunergasse 1–3 (01) 712 18 88 AUSTRIAN & SLOVAK PHILHARMONICS The Austrian and Slovak philharmonics will combine sistercity forces to present an evening featuring pieces by Felix Mendelssohn, Camille Saint-Saëns, Bernhard Romberg and Franz Schubert. Ivan Monighetti conducts, with Kian Soltani as a featured cellist. Sept. 17, 19:30 Musikverein, Großer Saal 1., Bösendorferstraße 12 (01) 505 81 90

NIGHTLIFE CASINO WIEN Those looking for that Las Vegas feel need look no further. The casino is situated in a three-story building on Vienna’s famous shopping street and is divided into two gaming centers. The Jackpot Casino features 69 slot machines, one blackjack table and an American Roulette table, while the Classic Casino boasts 80 slot machines, six black jack tables, more American Roulette tables and seven poker tables. A relaxed poker lounge and a variety of other amenities are sure to entice those looking for a thrill. Patrons can also frequent the luxurious bar on the first floor or the several restaurants, and friendly staff are featured throughout the venue. Mon. – Thu., 11:00 – 3:00; Fri. – Sat., 11:00 – 4:00 Casino Wien 1., Kärntner Straße 41 (01) 512 48 36 GNADENLOS Tucked away in Vienna’s “Bermuda Triangle”, this club is a quaint, stylish bar equipped with a very respectable menu of cocktails and long drinks. It hosts cocktail specials and student nights, and it features an aquarium spanning one entire wall. Reservations are recommended, as tables are oftentimes hard to come by, particularly on the weekend. Mon. – Sat., 7:00 – 4:00; Sun., 8:00 – 3:00 1., Seitenstettengasse 5 (01) 533 78 66

CAFÉ LEOPOLD A much-loved modern café, disco and bar in Museums Quartier, Café Leopold has a pricelist that is fair and a clientele that are hip. Chill out inside and enjoy a drink in the spacious, yet cozy mod café. In warmer weather, relax outside and people-watch by the meditation pool. The light and picture shows on the walls of the disco can be mesmerizing, and one should expect to hear anything from funk and reggae to electronic and jazz at this eclectic and favored Viennese establishment. Sun. – Tue., 10:00 – 2:00; Thu. – Sat., 10:00 – 4:00 7., Museumsplatz 1 (01) 523 67 32 CAFÉ DRECHSLER Having undergone renovation and re-opened four years ago, Café Drechsler is a welcome addition to the list of restaurants that serve food after midnight. The interior is a blend of traditional Viennese café elements with a modern twist. Offering an eclectic menu – everything from Hawaiian salads and Hungarian chicken and dumplings to deep-fried pork scallops and poppyseed tarts, washed down with hot chocolate with rum, a Darjeeling Himalayan tea or black currant nectar – the service is quick and the location is great for those wanting something to eat after a long night out. Mon., 8:00 – 2:00; Tue. – Sat., 3:00 – 2:00; Sun., 3:00 – 24:00 6., Linke Wienzeile 22 (01) 581 20 44

THE RED ROOM This tranquil nightclub is found in the basement of the Mediterranean/Caribbean restaurant Comida. The loungelike ambience – furnished by plush red seats, scarlet red walls, bright white floors, dimmed lights and strategically placed shimmering disco balls – welcomes visitors, as do the full bar (complete with champagne) and sounds of the DJ spinning ‘50s and ‘60s soul music. Until 1:00, hungry patrons can venture upstairs to Comida to satisfy their cravings through the likes of tapas, empanadas, fried rice, Creole chicken and coconut ice cream. Mon. – Sat., 8:00 – 4:00 1., Stubenring 20 (01) 512 40 24 FLEX This nightclub and live music venue, which once boasted the best sound system in Europe, is certainly a Viennese institution. While those with a preference for upscale and chic establishments might take offense to this sweaty, smoky and altogether dark club, anyone adventurous enough to go to what many describe as the one of the most exciting clubs in Vienna is in for a treat. Rock ‘n’ roll, techno, R&B – just about anyone can find a fix for their particular music craving. Popular nights are Tuesdays (electronic) and Thursdays (drum and bass). Daily, 9:00 – 4:00 1., Donaukanal (Augartenbrücke exit) (01) 533 75 25

06.09.2011 21:44:43 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

Vienna Events

HOHE WAND WIESE When entertaining a group of kids with various ages (and if the weather is co-operating), Vienna’s Summer Toboggan Run in Penzing could be the answer. Older children are allowed to bobsled alone through the 12 curves; younger children ride with an adult. Customers luckily do not have to slug their way to the top of the nearly 335-meter hill by foot – they can instead ride in style on the ski lift. Through Oct. 2 Daily, 10:00 – 19:00 Fridays after Sept. 3, 14:00 – 19:00 14., Mauerbachstraße 174

LECTURES & CONFERENCES CHANGING ARCHITECTURE The lecture series “Changing Architecture” welcomes to the MAK Kazuyo Sejima, a Japanese architect, three-year Princeton professor and visiting professor at Tama Art University and Keio University in Tokyo. This lecture series has focused for the last seven years on the influence of contemporary architecture on society and has brought in many of its leading proponents to express their views on the development of architecture in the new century. Sept. 20, 18:30 MAK Lecture Hall 1., Weiskirchnerstraße 3 PUBLIC & MEDIA PERCEPTIONS OF ASIA A panel discussion sponsored jointly by the House of the European Union and the AsiaEurope Foundation (ASEF), this event brings together experts on foreign policy, media relations and international affairs from a variety of international organizations. Panelists will include Melanie Pichler, Dr. Sebastian Bersick and Dr. Natalia Chaban. Sept. 27,18:00 Haus der Europaeischen Union 1., Wipplingerstrasse 35 LITERATURE & FILM TRANSLATORS Translation and translators have played an increasing role in literature and film in the last few years. This conference seeks to explore what this means and how it might reflect other global processes at work today, such as social and cultural conflict, mobility and migration, as well as the general phenomenon of globalization. Registration required. Sept. 15 – 17 Zentrum fuer Translationswissenschaft 19., Gymnasiumstrasse 50 THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN A GENDER CONTEXT This international conference is intended to promote the rethinking of the Great War in a gendered context. Scholars from all over Europe and with various academic backgrounds have been invited to speak on five selected panels covering topics shown to be integral to the field, such as concepts of citizenship, peace efforts, experiences of war violence, and more. Registration required through Sept. 15. Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 Seminarraum Alte Kapelle 9., Spitalgasse 2–4 ANCIENT CERAMICS In the context of archeology and human development, this conference seeks to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of pottery in ancient civilizations. Scholars and researchers from a variety of fields will lecture on this topic from not only traditional archeological and artistic angles, but also with considerable input from the hard sciences. Registration is required for attendance. Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 Naturhistorisches Museum 1., Burgring 7 (01) 521 77 0

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On the Town

The 1995 film Pilotinnen, part of the Film Museum’s ‘Drifter’ road movie series. Photo by Christian Petzold

LABOUR DISPUTES IN GLOBALISED CHINA This conference focuses on the issue of labor laws and the situation of workers in China and, by bringing together both academic experts and activists, it hopes to foster not only understanding but also the building of a common ground for Western observers on this often tumultuous topic. Sept. 22 – 24 Renner-Institut 12., Khleslplatz 12 www.labourchina 1., Burgring 7 WALKING TOURS LEOPOLDSTADT: VIENNA’S JEWISH CENTER Leopoldstadt, once full of bustling Jewish neighborhoods, businesses and synagogues, was virtually decimated first by the Kristallnacht and then the Holocaust. This tour explores how the district has been gradually recovering ever since. Every Fri., 13:30 1., corner of Schwedenplatz and Rotenturmstraße (01) 774 89 01 VIENNA UNDERGROUND Vienna’s skyline can be dazzling, but anyone familiar with the classic film “The Third Man” knows that what lurks below Vienna’s streets is equally, if not more, intriguing. A maze of vaults, burial chambers, secret passageways and sewer canals greets those who are curious to explore them. Every Wed., 13:30 1., Michaelerplatz, in front of St. Michael’s Church (01) 774 89 01 VIENNA’S NEW CITY DEVELOPMENTS Years of history are marked on Vienna’s building facades, from Jugendstil and baroque to romanticism and gothic. Now, modern architecture and renovations are moving the Viennese skyline into the newest century. On this tour, explore newer developments such as the glimmering Danube City and the reworked Simmering Gasometer and see how Vienna is forging the delicate architectural balance between its past and its future. Tour booked only by request (01) 774 89 01

YOUNG HITLER IN VIENNA For six years, a young, penniless Adolf Hitler called Vienna home. While shifting between several residences (including homeless shelters in the 12th and 20th districts), he twice tested for (and twice failed) admission to Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts and sold his paintings (sometimes through Jewish merchants) to scrape together any money he could. This tour guides you through the streets on which Hitler lived and coffeehouses he frequented, and examines the encounters he had that shaped his future ideology. Every Wed., 16:30 1., Schillerplatz, by the monument to Friedrich Schiller (0) 676 922 77 73 TURN-OF-THECENTURY VIENNA: SIGMUND FREUD See the early 20th century changes in Vienna through the eyes of one of its most famous residents, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. From his Jewish boyhood stomping grounds to his ninth district family apartment and consultation office, you will see the turning-century tools and sites that influenced the man known as the “father of psychoanalysis.” Every Sun., 14:00 9., Rooseveltplatz 8, in front of the Votivkirche (01) 369 64 01 Haus der Musik SPORTS EUROPEAN VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS The men’s European Volleyball Championships will take place throughout one week in locations in Austria (Vienna and Innsbruck) and the Czech Republic. Contests will begin with teams from Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Russia, Portugal, Estonia, Italy, France, Finland, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Germany. Semi-final, final and classification matches will be held in Vienna. Tickets are available for purchase online. Sept. 10 – 18 See Website for specific dates and times Wiener Stadthalle 15., Vogelweidplatz 14 (01) 505 74 42

TAG DES SPORTS (DAY OF SPORTS) For the eleventh time, Europe’s biggest open air sports event, the “Day of Sports”, will take place at Vienna’s Heldenplatz. This year’s motto of “next generation” aims to introduce young athletes to different types of sports. Booths will be set up along Heldenplaty to present information about sports such as yoga, rock climbing, snow skiing, table tennis, horse-backing riding, taekwon-do, ballroom dancing and even American football. Visitors can watch professionals ranging from Olympians to international champions demonstrate their sport. They can also try out the sport for themselves. Entrance is free. Sept. 24, 10:00 – 19:00 1., Heldenplatz YOGA Bikram Choudhury is an Indian yoga guru who developed his own special yoga method and has taught more than 3 million yogis ever since. Bikram Yoga lasts for 90 minutes and consists of a sequence of 26 positions (asanas) that were developed specifically to train the whole body. The sessions take place in a 38-degree room, and participants can rent mats and towels for 1€ each. For beginners, there is a seven-day introductory special: seven consecutive days of yoga for 7€. Check Website for specific class times Bikram Yoga 1., Maria-TheresienStraße 32–34 (0) 676 462 14 19 Haus der Musik CHILDREN CHILDREN’S MAGIC FLUTE The internationally renowned Marionette Theater introduces the world of Mozart to children while baffling adults with their puppets. The theater group has adapted Mozart’s famous “The Magic Flute” to a 75-minute kids program that personally includes Mozart. Though presented in German, the show and glimpse backstage are worth it. Sept. 3, 17, 24, 16:00 Marionettentheater 13., Schloß Schönbrunn (01) 817 32 47

FAMILY SWIMMING Haven’t given up on summer yet? The city of Vienna boasts 10 “family pools” with shallow water, playgrounds, slides and fountains; all one needs to choose is whether to swim indoors or outdoors. One lovely example is in the Schweizergarten near Südbahnhof. The pool’s entrance is sloped, allowing even the smallest visitors to play. Sept. 1 – 18, 10:00 – 19:00 See Website for locations WATERPARKS If it isn’t warm enough to swim, playing with water can be just as fun. The six public waterparks in Vienna feature pirate ships, waterfalls, streams, fountains, water cannons and more. The Wasserturm in the 10th district is the newest and largest. The Donauinsel park sits on the island and overlooks the city, the Leberberg park offers beach volleyball and a skate park, and Max-Winter park is open all year. See Website for specific locations and open hours EXERCISING WITH THE EMPRESS Exercise like royalty: Empress Sissi’s infamous fitness program made her both slim and notorious. Now, families can explore her workout regimen at Hermes Villa at the Lainz Game Reserve. Children from 4 to 7 years can learn about her power walks on a fitness trail and private gym in the small palace. The game reserve and playground provide an excellent outing as well, weather permitting. The tour is in German. No registration needed. Sept. 11, 14:00 Hermesvilla 13., Lainzer Tiergarten (01) 804 13 24 Haus der Musik FILM DRIFTER To kick off its 2011-2012 season, Vienna’s Film Museum will present the film series “Drifter” as a sequence to its road movies project, which it began with its first installation Autokino (road cinema) last September. The peak of this culture first took place in American cinema in the 1960s and early ‘70s. This fall, “Drifter” will lay its focus on the European “heirs” of the new Hollywood generation and on the existentially motivated flee- and travel movements. Starting Sept. 1 Film Museum 1., Augustinerstraße 1 (01) 533 7054

EPHEMERAL CITIES The ability of film to produce both sensual and symbolic images, thus associating specific places with abstract qualities, makes it play an essential role in the capturing and representation of urban space. The Film Museum and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute will present their 2-year-old research projects examining this concept. Lectures and previously unseen film documents will provide an insight into the related ongoing projects by both organizations. Sept. 29, 30 Filmmuseum 1., Augustinerstraße 1 (01) 533 7054 LE REFUGE Mousse and Louis are two young, rich lovers. Their seemingly carefree life is shattered, however, when they both take an overdose. It claims Louis’ life, and although Mousse survives, it isn’t long before she discovers she is pregnant. Desperate, she flees Paris and moves into a beach house, but her surprises are not yet over. Throughout September Check Website for specific dates and times Village Cinemas 3., Landstraßer Hauptstr. 2a (01) 242 40 418 www.programmkino. THE HOUSEMAID The beautiful Eun-yi is hired by a wealthy Korean family as the new housemaid. Her responsibilities consist of taking care of both the family’s little daughter and Mr. Hoon’s pregnant wife. Mr. Hoon, however, is used to having things his way, and one night, he seduces the new housemaid, which turns out to be the beginning of a passionate affair. The Housemaid is one of the most successful films in Korea in recent years and was an acclaimed competitor at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Starting Aug. 5 Admiral Kino 7., Burggasse 19 (01) 523 37 59 MA PART DU GÂTEAU (MY PIECE OF THE PIE) Francis is a mother of three who loses her job when her company goes under. To make ends meet, she takes a job as a cleaner. As a bonus, she crosses paths with a wealthy defense trader working in London. As he shows her what “the good life” can be, Francis learns more about her company’s demise and, eventually, what she truly values in life. French with German subtitles. Starting Sept. 15 Burg Kino 1., Opernring 19 (01) 587 84 06 SUMMER WORLD CINEMA The Filmgalerie 8 ½ specializes in providing art house films from all over the world to the local community, but where is the fun in just selling them? Each Tuesday in September, the Filmgalerie will also show a film project from somewhere else in the world. The Weltcafe (World Café) plays host for each screening. Free entry. Tuesdays, 20:30 Weltcafe 9., Schwarzspanierstraße 15 (01) 405 37 41

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Vienna Events

Vienna Events On Screen

The Oscar-winning film by Susanne Bier portrays the moral hazard of aid work

Ulrich Thomsen as Claus and William Johnk Nielsen as Christian more than a dusty tent set up in the middle of nowhere. He is a compassionate doctor, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark and Africa. The need for medical care is overwhelming, and there is evidence of inhumane brutality when victims arrive at the clinic – pregnant young women who are savagely cut open by a sadistic local warlord making bets on the sex of the unborn children. The chaos of the dusty camp with beautiful hues of sunburnt earth contrasts dramatically to the serene and verdant coastal town in Denmark to which Anton returns. Although his world back in Denmark bears all the hallmarks of being more civilized, tensions are rising to the surface and moral issues continue to vex him. Anton and his wife Marianne (Trine Dyrholm), who is also a doctor, are separated and struggling with a crumbling relationship and the possibility of divorce. Anton spends time with his boys by sitting by a beautiful lake, taking pleasure in their proximity, longing to be able to talk to them as a compassionate and affectionate father. As the story further unfolds, we realise that the violence in Africa is being juxtaposed with that in Denmark: Anton comes face to face with the brutal local “Big Man,” who is a bully protected by bullies just as his son Elias is facing constant bullying at school. Anton attempts to adhere to a strict code of ethics but ultimately finds this impossible when he is pushed to breaking point. A further intersection comes when another boy, Christian, joins Elias’s school. Christian has recently lost his mother to cancer and has moved from London to Denmark to live with his grandmother. His father Claus is a

The first Vienna Circle was a group of philosophers who met every Thursday to solve the riddle of existence. Knowledge, they decided, must come from experience: What was real could be observed, its existence proved through science; what was metaphysical could not, and was therefore meaningless. Which was problematic when it came to things like friendship (which they shared but could not prove!) and so annoyed Ludwig Wittgenstein that he took to reading poetry in the meetings. Our Vienna Circle is all of us – the many groups who meet mornings or evenings, at concerts or coffeehouses, at vineyards or a vernissage. It’s where international Vienna gets together to exchange “knowledge from experience” and where friendship is simply a -DMN fact of life. Photo: Per Arnesen/Sony Classics

businessman who is often away, and their relationship is put under immense strain. To give himself a protective armour against his buried grief, Christian uses revenge as a way of getting control over his own life. The situation at school quickly escalates when Christian defends Elias, beating the bully and then pulling out a knife. Amongst the different views of the school teachers and the parents, Anton attempts to explain to the children how fighting is never the best way to resolve problems. “If you hit him, he hits you, and then it never ends,” Claus tells Christian. “Not if you hit hard enough the first time,” Christian retorts. “Nobody will pick on me again.” When a situation similarly escalates between an aggressive garage mechanic and Anton, after their children fight over a swing, Anton chooses to display his pacifism to the boys and literally turns the other cheek. This is strongly contrasted with Christian’s savvy of the way of the world, and Anton’s refusal to fight back further solidifies the idea that something must be done. Elias is malleable and confused, but in the desire for Christian’s friendship and solidarity, decides to go ahead with him and take revenge by making a bomb to destroy the mechanic’s van. In a Better World builds a mounting sense of dread of how it will all end, of how lives are wasted. The characters are very well drawn and the actors are well chosen for these sensitive and poignant roles. From the schoolyard to tribal savagery the film poses constant moral questions and explores flawed humanity. The title ultimately suggests that in a better world, there would not be so much cruelty. But it provides no easy answers as, we sense, there are none.

Honoured Past, Bold Future

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Groups, Goals and Gatherings: Where Internationals Meet

From genre films to challenging experiments and hybrids: Pushing 50, the Viennale film festival is still taking risks

by Philip Ellison Heading into its 50th year, the The Viennale International Film Festival Vienna is still taking risks in 2011, with the schedules and plans announced at its pre-season press conference in August. The roughly 130 new feature films scheduled include big names along with new discoveries; from classic narrative to experimental forms; from genre films to the more challenging experiments and hybrids operating at the limits of film as currently defined, all of interest to the film lovers targeted by the festival organizers. The range includes the dreamy exploration of an old house in Aitá, a dizzying tour de force between revenge and salvation in Drive; the abandoned children on the streets of Yatasto or the protesting, shrewd citizens of Palermo in Palazzo delle Aguile; of Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness) and Melancholia, of Schakale und Araber (Kafka’s Jackels and Arabs) and of the funny and crazy existence of a useful life in cinema in La vida útil. Also scheduled is Way of Passion, a new documentary by Joerg Burger about a Catholic procession ritual in Sicily. Another path of passion is what determines a Filipino girl’s decision to leave her country in Ang damgo ni eleuteria; the wild life of Hole drummer Patty Schemel is documented in Hit So Hard. Still being negotiated is a complete screening of Todd Haynes’s multi-

September 2011

Vienna Circle

Violence in Two Worlds by Valerie Crawford Pfannhauser We live in a violent time, where the tidal flows of migration are pressing with nearly unbearable strain against the traditional life of Europeans. It’s not only here, but this is our world and thus it is here that we feel it and know it. Elsewhere, though, pressures are often even greater, as the social fabric is more fragile and less able to cope. Between these worlds, says Susanne Bier’s 2010 Danish-Swedish co-production In a Better World, runs a single common thread of a shared story of almost overwhelming urgency. It is the story of our international community. It is also the story of our time. Here we see marked out the parallels between a refugee camp in Africa and a small coastal town in Denmark. The original Danish title of the film translates simply as The Revenge, but there is much more at stake in this film than just that. In a Better World, winner of both the 2011 Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for “Best Foreign Film”, is a compelling and challenging drama, that shows real people enduring life’s trials and seduced by its moral hazards. Although the screenplay by Anders Thomas Jensen is not entirely successful at merging the two stories – in places we lose a keen sense of the parallels, when opportunities for analogy pass unacknowledged – director Bier more than makes up for the gaps. With a sure hand, she guides us through an examination of characters who are capable of compassion and empathy and of those who seem to be instinctively violent; it contemplates suffering and loss; examines the limits of pacifism and is an intelligent meditation on masculinity, family and accountability. Cinematographer Morten Søborg and production designer Peter Grant present scenes of turmoil in Africa in nearly heartbreaking contrast with the apparent idyll of Danish village life, providing a visual vocabulary that is consistently eloquent yet manages to avoid cliché. The story primarily centres on two families: pre-teen boys Elias (Markus Rygaard) and Christian (William Johnk Nielsen) and their respective fathers Anton (Mikael Persbrandt) and Claus (Ulrich Thomsen). We first encounter Anton in a makeshift medical clinic – no

The Vienna Review

part HBO TV adaption of Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet. Very current will be a look in on the insurgents of the “Arab Spring” vanguard in Tahrir, Liberation Square from Egypt. In his comments on the Viennale ‘11 program, festival director Hans Hurch, said that it advances the festival’s mission “to create a large arc across current world cinema,” reflecting, in its way “the fragmented, the temporary...” Thus, the program will be the last of its kind. According to Hurch, in 2012, the 50-year anniversary of the festival, the Viennale will see a “comprehensive relaunch” retaining “the meaningful and the tested” but will also be “expanded and updated with new, varied program ideas and structures.” In short, the secret is to be bold, yet ever vigilent. “Or as Fred Zinnemann (the Austrian-born director of High Noon) once said: ‘Never sleep without your pistol.’” Of particular interest to the home audience will be the Austrian premiere of A Dangerous Method, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play. Set in 1904, with Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, the focus is on the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as they treat a particularly troubled patient at the Burghlzli Mental Hospital. While the younger psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart, their work leads to profound breakthroughs in the practice.

Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones at the Viennale Photo: Fox Studios Other festival highlights will include tributes to Harry Belafonte and British film Producer Jeremy Thomas. Belafonte began his career in the late 1940s on Broadway as an actor and as a singer, with his album Calypso, making him a star in the ‘50s. Belafonte attracted attention as

The American Women’s Association

One of the oldest international clubs in Vienna is the American Women’s Association, founded in 1924 by the wives of U.S. diplomats and military personnel. More recently the AWA has broadened to include an international community of English-speaking women, some 250 members from over 30 countries. AWA is a non-profit volunteer organization financed primarily by membership dues. They describe themselves as “interesting, enthusiastic, energetic and fun,” and have a rich and varied program of outings and gatherings, language classes, charitable activities and support groups, all “opportunities for English-speaking women to make friends and support each other as they adapt to life in Austria,” according to their website. ( “Don’t forget, Americans are joiners,” a member said, as if such a thing needed explaining. The “Amis” are clearly not alone. AWA’s latest service initiative launched this month is AWARE: Service in Austria, inspired by the 9/11 Day of Service in the United States, and in the spirit of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. Intended to be on-going, their first project is to collect school supplies, dictionaries, books, games and puzzles for refugee children in Austria, partnering with schools, clubs and organizations – including Caritas, Diakonie, and Menschen. Leben – working with refugees in Austria. AWARE: Service in Austria Team: American Women’s Association of Vienna 1., Singerstraße 4/11,

a film actor in Otto Preminger’s musical Carmen Jones (1954) which has been newly restored and, with luck, will be screened in this version. But Belafonte was interested in extending his range and also starred in the science fiction film The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (1959) and, the same year, in Robert Wise’s gangster movie Odds Against Tomorrow, a decidely unusual film noir addressing the subject of racism, which Belafonte produced. Belafonte’s charisma, his music, his screen presence, and his progressive politics have remained unchanged over the years, and are reflected in the recent documentary Sing Your Song (2010) by Susanne Rostock, which is included with a selection of Belafonte’s films in the Viennale tribute. Belafonte will be in Vienna to take part in this tribute. The Viennale tribute to Jeremy Thomas will include a selection of his most important productions, including the aforementioned A Dangerous Method. According to festival organizers, the tribute is “a mark of respect for his cinematic instinct, his love for his directors and his unconditional idea of artistic independence”, the driving force behind his creative work. Thomas occupies a special position, having established himself as an independent, collaborating effectively with a core group of great directors since the mid-1970s, and playing a central role in contemporary international cinema. Jeremy Thomas will be in Vienna for this tribute. The Viennale is Austria’s most important international film event, as well as one of the oldest and best-known festivals in the Germanspeaking world, paying particular attention to documentary films, international short films, as well as experimental works and crossover films. The complete film program will be online on Oct. 11 at 20:00. Ticket pre-sale starts as usual on Oct. 15.

06.09.2011 21:46:29 Uhr

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The The Vienna Vienna Review Review September 2011 February September 2008 2011

Out & About

Vienna Events

When retracing the evolutionary steps of cuisine, it’s no surprise to be led to the birthplace of man … Ethiopia

Eating With Your Hands by Gretchen Gatzke This was not a restaurant, or at least it didn’t feel like one. Red upholstered benches lined the walls and brass lamps lit up cozy eating corners. The ceiling fans gave a most welcome movement to the stagnant, heavy air as the heat on this particular evening made it seem as if we really were in Ethiopia. It was the aptly named Ethiopian Restaurant, at Währinger Straße 15 in the 9th District, one of the newest, and surely the most exotic, offerings on the Vienna scene. We arrived at 19:30, just as evening was falling. For the most part it was quiet. Ethiopian pop was playing subtly in the background and one customer was drinking a beer outside. The warm wood paneling and the center staircase spoke not for a restaurant, but for Grandma’s cottage. Warm colours and delicious smells, African art and vinyl floral-print tablecloths all beckoned us to take a seat and have a nice hearty meal. And then Seifu appeared with a big smile on his face. He owns the restaurant with his wife Tewabech, who is also the chef. After living in Vienna and working for OPEC for 35 years, Seifu retired two years ago. They decided to open an establishment for Ethiopian cuisine in the 9th District and it’s been running strong since February. Seifu ushered us to a table, smiling all the while, and said simply, “honey wine”. We

shrugged and nodded our heads as he scampered off into the back of the restaurant. Tej, as it is called in Ethiopia, is a mead flavored with powdered leaves and buckthorn twigs. Here, they make the wine themselves and a quarter liter goes for five euros. Seifu brought out the tej, served in bereles – spherical, laboratory-looking flasks with lipped necks. He showed us how to drink it, holding the neck between the index and middle fingers and tipping ever so delicately. It smelled like “new wine” and its taste had a vinegar nuance so that it was not sickly sweet nor as viscous as traditional mead. Sweet at first, it then left an acidity at that back of the throat that was not unpleasant. This tej had become my new favorite way to consume honey. We told Seifu we wanted a typical Ethiopian meal. He nodded and dashed off. In the meantime, other groups had trickled in. One French couple had previously lived in Ethiopia and were there for a culinary reminder of their time spent there. Another couple sat down at the table beside us, obviously familiar with the restaurant. Later, they told us they knew Seifu because of their common language and through seeing each other at church. They come to the Ethiopian Restaurant at least once a week. But actually, all kinds of people come to eat there, Seifu later told us. Because of its location, the Ethiopian Restaurant attracts many students and professors from Uni Wien looking for a

Urban dwellers in search of a new ‘it’ place may quite likely find it in the Dachboden

On the Roof by Sultan Abdulai Launching a new upscale hotel in the tourist haven that is Vienna is undoubtedly a daunting prospect. Still, my interest was piqued upon hearing about a new “25 Hours” design hotel opening up next to the Volkstheater, promoting a rooftop bar with a magnificent view of the city. This was the fifth and newest branch of the swanky German hotel chain; after seducing Hamburg and Frankfurt with themes like “Denim” and “Retro” in Vienna, a playful “Cir- Bright smiles and nonchalance of a summer cus” theme followed, with the promise of a hot night at Dachboden Photo: David Reali rooftop bar. The hope of joining in on the Wednesday of the place. A good place to shoot an advert, I night Salon Hermes was certainly a lure, as was thought. People could forget about their open the rumour that the FM4 star DJ “Herr Hermes” tabs here. himself was a regular at the Dachboden. Which Incendiary Jazz tunes quickly lifted spirits, helped explain the queue of 20- to 30-some- everything from Duke Ellington and Oscar Pethings waiting for the lift to the bar. terson along with some Swing-pop and the occa“It’s first-come-first-served, so don’t even sional Muddy Waters track. But when it comes bother,” clarified the to space, the main attuxedoed bouncer, traction – the terrace Dachboden is a fetish of ‘50s raising an eyebrow at with the view – was retro straight out of a Miro someone’s attempt to pretty cramped. The flatter their way in. painting, with clusters of elipti- indoor bar area, howAfter a short 15ever, can fit 130 peocal end tables, tufted cushions ple: just about right to minute wait – that felt longer in the cramped set off some fireworks. and even a beanbag chair. space – I eagerly rode A wide selection up. Bright smiles and of wines and beers nonchalance all around; smart suits and floral (€3–8), as well as slightly more expensive long cocktail dresses spliced with casual jeans and T- drinks (€15), light snacks and even coffee and shirts. I had come low-end in my turquoise shirt cake were on the menu. But before we could and ripped denims. Was I in the wrong place even place an order, staff members were already at the wrong time? No, I decided; here you can asking us to leave – it was 1:00 and the bar was make your own “in” crowd. closing. Bright colours flowing into concrete, Walking out into the charming little park in wrought iron and leather -- it was clear why the front of the hotel after the disappointment of place was described as “an ostentatious, sexy and such conservative opening hours (Is this a decheeky Spektakel.” Dachboden is a fetish of 50s signer bar or a student dorm?), I remembered retro straight out of a Miro painting, with clus- what the world looks like from down below. ters of elliptical end tables and spidery lamps, And then I realized: Vienna’s flickering tufted cushions and even a bean-bag chair, un- night-lights are far better from the top of a der walls covered in white-wash gray paneling, Dachboden. like a cottage at the Jersey shore. Dachboden, 25 Hours Hotel Wien But truth be told, it’s almost too casual, 7., Lerchenfelder straße 1-3 more weekend domestic than urban chic, like Reservations: Tel: (01) 521 51 0 the pool house bar of a well-healed wine conE-Mail: noisseur. The vivid décor – giant lettering like Coffee and cakes daily from 12:00, Bar menu clip art, funky knick–knacks – helped, providopen Tue.-Sat., 17:00-01:00, Breakfast: a stark contrast to the otherwise rustic look Sat., 6:30-11:00, Sun., 8:00-12:00

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Platter for Two with Key Wot beef and more tasty and affordable lunch menu. But whoever comes in, Seifu seems to know them all; stopping at each table and chatting for at least five minutes about life, weather, Ethiopian food… We watched as dishes were delivered to hungry customers. Most of the food was presented in a mesob – a giant, straw-woven basket with a lid to keep the contents warm. The sight of this alone was mouth-watering. Our plate arrived after some time adorned with a variety of steaming meat and vegetables on a bed of injera bread. The dish revolved around a centerpiece of Key Wot beef and lamb, spiced with ginger, butter and paprika. The platter was overflowing with Ayib cheese, stewed potatoes and carrots, or Atkilt, and a fresh Ethiopian salad. The catch: You have to eat it with your hands. I soon found out that this was actually the fun part. The injera is very thin and pliable bread, almost like a crepe. It’s made from a flour that is unique because of the Ethiopian climate. Step 1: Rip off a piece of injera. Step 2: Proceed to grab desired food with said injera. Step 3: Attempt to

successfully deposit food into mouth before dropping it. It did prove to be a challenge at times, but luckily Seifu was constantly circulating checking on everyone and making sure they were using the proper technique. At the end of the meal, we were able to ask Seifu a few questions. First was the name of our dish, priced at €16. He replied with a sly smile, “Well it’s Menu Number 11, so I guess it’s called ‘Teller für zwei Personen’”. Later we learned Photo: David Reali the actual names of each item, as detailed above. Seifu also informed us that the Ethiopian Restaurant buys coffee beans from the Kaffa Province in Ethiopia. They roast the beans themselves and give away fresh coffee on Fridays and Saturdays. Customers can also partake in the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, should they so desire. The ceremony goes hand-in hand with the give-away – Fridays after 21:00 and all day Saturdays; first come, first serve. Seifu pointed out that there’s usually a line, so if you want to join, get there early! In any case, our meal was one that was tasty and filling. It wasn’t haute cuisine, but that’s not what it strives to be. The Ethiopian Restaurant makes simple, traditional food, and its authenticity was both striking and refreshing. When we asked Seifu how long this type of food has been around, he laughed: “People have been eating this way ever since they discovered the banana!” Ethiopian Restaurant 9., Währinger Straße 15, 01 402 0726 Reservations recommended; no Website

The Gate Crasher Mad Men, Numb Women By Cristina Rotaru Building relationships with society magnates during a meaningful time in a girl’s life, thrilling as it may sound, can be a tedious process. Violent outbursts of laughter, elaborate scenes and whiffs of scandal become rights of passage, as well as occasions for endless boasting and the foundation for tomorrow’s traumas. In Vienna, few places convey that true sense of belonging (although most prefer to pretend they belong anywhere) like the Volksgarten, where I was going for yet another night of makebelieve. It was the 50th anniversary of the Volksgarten Pavillion, to be celebrated with a 1960s party themed after the TV series Mad Men. “Hey, Cristina?” ventured my friend Roger, a sworn but gallant adherent to the concept “don’t worry your pretty little head about it, dear.” “Yes?” “You won’t mind if, when we get to the Mad Men party, I act like a bit of a sexist – you know, ask you to swing your fanny down to the bar and get me an Old Fashioned, and then watch you while you walk away – will you?” This bash was going to be right up his alley. “I expect nothing less,” I said, in all seriousness. But what I really meant to say was that I expected nothing at all. My living arrangements, far from ideal, were starting to take their toll on my well-being – both physical and mental. As I swung from one couch to another, carrying a set of spare clothes, a charger and the occasional pocket knife in my bag, I reminded myself I shouldn’t take myself so seriously, that I disliked people who did, and that something, at some point, would have to give. Home is where your toothbrush is, I always say - in my case, this turns out to be anywhere. The only times I actually did get to the place where my suitcase was, which hadn’t been unpacked in months, was for me to paint my nails red and change perfumes for a night - as though “dolling up” would keep me together while everything around me crumbled. Dinner parties, invitations, freshening up in pub restrooms and department store changing booths were all leading me to the end of endurance; I began to surrender to a constant state of weariness and got closer to feeling numb. But surely a night spent among suave men with pumping egos would help render me clever again. So I made myself presentable and headed toward the place where everyone would be doing precisely what I was doing: Pretending to be someone else.

The crowd outside the venue was dense, exhilarated. It was divided into two groups: Those who came to party in their own times, and the rest of us, with an ardent desire to escape them. The 1960s office girls and stay-at-home wives vs. the emancipated millennium playmates - now that’s a scuffle with serious implications. I entered, and at a remote table, I spotted my friends: All gentlemen of noticeable refinement and taste, and shenanigan professionals all. We exchanged courtesies – “Looking sharp”; “No, you do”; “Oh, you flatter me”; “Let’s get a drink, already!” not in that particular order – and I took a seat. I was the only woman in a group of well-turned-out men; A few girls had eyes on them, and I felt strangely proud. Among the cigarette cases, bow ties, hats and suspenders, I found myself surrounded by big boys’ toys and witty remarks tossed around the table. Mad Men-style, I downed my Martini in two sips. Pivoting their knee-length garments to Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love”, fanciful and romantic, ladies were diving right into the game. “Thanks for finally making me feel like a woman,” I overheard one say, quickly followed by a playful “Buy me a drink?” “Nicely wheeled,” I thought; I can appreciate a sister’s game. Even if you do tell the truth, they won’t believe you, so you might as well tell them what they want to hear, and get a free drink. “Cristina, when are you going to take that damn jacket off to show us the dress?” I thought of my suitcase, the 10 minutes on public transport it took to put on my Hollywood slum face, and smiled. And how long did it take him to get ready? Turns out Roger had even done some prior shopping for the occasion. Now his feet were killing him in his new shoes. But supporting what he calls the “single greatest philosophical idea of the 20th century” hurts. I suddenly felt lost, not remembering which role I was supposed to play. My alter ego of the 1960s escapade had gotten lost somewhere in the night and in the process, I recalled the words of Don Draper, maddest of the Mad Men:“I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie; there is no system; the universe is indifferent.” Suddenly, I wanted to be gone. Like Don, I was only interested in the beginning of things. Around me, people teetered in and out of character, struggling to choose a personality for the night. It’s okay, I thought, the traumatized children of today are the Mad Men of tomorrow. “Where are you going?“ someone asked. “A lady never tells,“ I answered.

06.09.2011 21:46:32 Uhr

On the Town

On the Road

The Vienna Review

September 2011


The 54th Venice Biennale: in La Serenissima, the avantgarde is (serenely) political

Nations and Illuminations by Cynthia Peck and Michael Werbowski Two vaporetto stops from the Piazza San Marco and its maddening crowds, junk souvenirs made in China and glowing heat, we land at the Giardini and the site of the Venice Biennale. The entrance beckons at the end of a wide gravel corridor, under the shade of hundred-year-old sycamore trees and past well-laid-out flower beds. Venice may be sinking into the Adriatic, but the Biennale is still uncompromisingly making a statement that is heard around the world, at least the art world. We follow the noise of an unbelievable racket that guides us straight to the centre of the park. An upturned tank has landed in front of the U.S. pavilion, the metal plates of its treads facing the sky and making a horrendous din as they turn, going nowhere. Perched on one of the treads is a sport-club treadmill, topped by a pretty runner with a blond pigtail jogging along at the same speed the tank is trying to move. Our jaws drop. The work by U.S. artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla is called Track and Field. It grabs you by the throat. As calmly described by Calzadilla, it is a “re-organization of the things in the world.” The Biennale has a long tradition of melding art and politics. In 1974, the entire Biennale focused on Chile as a cultural protest of Pinochet’s dictatorship. The title of this year’s exhibit is Illuminations. While not as politicized, it is clearly making a statement. The artists are still divided according to nations. And this huge show of cultural diversity still illuminates separateness. A comment on a cross-cultural world in search of identity? The Venice Biennale is often described as the Olympics of modern art. One of the largest art exhibits in the world, this year’s 54th exhibition features 89 national participants. Open until Nov. 27, it is an excellent excuse to go to Venice for a long weekend, although a month would be better. At the Giardini there are 30 permanent national pavilions. But each year the number of participating countries has grown: This year Haiti, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are represented for the first time. And Iraq has returned after a 35-year absence. The Biennale now has venues all over Venice. Needless to say, this art show is too big to experience in one visit. We take in a fleeting glimpse of a clever video of lines being drawn in the sand in the Israeli pavilion, and a film of slow-motion soldiers camouflaged by thousands of flowers in the

Track and Field: The artwork by Allora and Calzadilla, an upturned tank with a jogger, sends a loud message. Korean pavilion. Austria’s contribution includes a neurotic-tinged video of someone climbing over an open door (there must be an easier way to get it). Egypt shows footage of the protests in Tahrir Square as a memorial to the artist Ahmed Basiony, killed there during the Egyptian revolution in January. Heads still spinning from the up-side-down tank, we enter the Polish pavilion. At the door we are issued membership cards to the JRMiP (The Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland). We are particularly perplexed and wonder if this is some kind of cruel hoax. “Is there really such a movement?” we wonder. This question is particularly relevant to one of us, whose ethnicity is both Polish and Jewish – a member of a family that survived the Shoah but fled from Poland in the spring of 1968 to Canada in order to escape an anti-Semitic communist party campaign that forced almost 15,000 people to leave as refugees to the West. We enter the pavilion, emotionally charged and sharing conflicting feelings of unresolved resentment and a yearning for closure and reconciliation. Poland, 20 years after the fall of communism, would like to be seen by the world as open and tolerant, especially since the country currently holds the mantel of the rotating EU presidency. But the official view of thriving social enlightenment is often belied by signs of well-entrenched nationalism and xenophobia. Enter Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana. The first non-Pole to represent Poland in the history of Biennale, her film trilogy …and Europe Will

Be Stunned is turning national representation at the Biennale on its head. The stirring exhibit is made up of three short films. The first, Mary Koszmary (Nightmare), is an almost patriotic appeal to Jews, now scattered all over the globe, to return to the land of their forefathers: Poland. In a naïve and humanistic appeal, Sławomir Sierakowski, a young, well-known Polish journalist, calls on Jews who fled to return, and appeals to his fellow Poles to welcome them back.

This huge show of cultural diversity still illuminates separateness. Is it perhaps a comment on a cross-cultural world in search of identity? “Jews! Fellow countrymen! People! Peeeeeeople!” Sierakowski’s voice resonates in a nearly empty stadium. It is an ironic touch: The Catholic and ultranationalist broadcaster “Radio Maria” in Poland often refers to Jews in a clandestine fashion by using the phrase “those people.” The second segment of this “docu-drama” is the film Wall and Tower. It records the construction, opposite the Warsaw Ghetto monument, of what Bartana calls “the first kibbutz in Europe.” We see bright-eyed and eager pioneers resettling in the home of their grandparents,

Photo: Andrew Bordwin

constructing a kibbutz in Warsaw’s city centre. The artist wryly plays on the ideological heartstring exhortations of both Communism and Zionism: the creation of a better future world, notions of equality and the sense of belonging to the collective whole. In the background, we hear the Polish national anthem, overlapped with portions of the Israeli anthem Hatikvah played backwards. Of course, it is science fiction even to consider Jews of Polish heritage returning en masse to their ancestral homeland. But Bartana’s vision of “New Europe” is that of an experimental societal form, a concept that could be transferred to many places in the world. Posters of the fictional political movement’s manifesto are displayed. They are printed on a red background in white lettering: symbolically in Polish, Hebrew, and the language of the host country, Italian. It begins: “We want to return! Not to Uganda, not to Argentina or to Madagascar, not even to Palestine. It is Poland that we long for, the land of our fathers and forefathers.” And it ends with lines of hope and faith in an elusive cause, a dream based on a collective nightmare: “With one religion, we cannot listen. With one color, we cannot see. With one culture, we cannot feel. Without you, we can’t even remember. Join us, and Europe will be stunned!” And so were we.

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31.08.2011 11:55:35 Uhr 27.06.2011 12:27:27

06.09.2011 21:48:08 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

Scenes of Vienna

The Jokok Fink Platz, transformed into an outdoor silent discotheque as young revelers fill the space.

For a single night, a church courtyard in the Josefstadt was reclaimed by a dancing crowd, without making a sound

A Silent Revolution by Laurence Doering steps and benches lining the side of the square – The Jodok Fink Platz is an unlikely place to were transfixed by the spectacle. The ensemble start a revolution. At the heart of the conserva- of bodies, jigging in silence, side by side yet to tive 8th District, the square bears the name of different rhythms, was hilarious and endlessly an interwar politician renowned for his compro- fascinating. mise-building. Most people, however, know the The feat was achieved with a simple trick: By cobbled concourse simply as the home of the rolling their finger over a little tuning wheel at Piaristenkirche and its attached school, a touch- the back of their headset, dancers could choose stone for a solid, bourgeois education. Against all between two music channels which were transodds, then, on an unexpectedly balmy evening mitted from the DJ decks. A German student at the end of a chilly August, some one hundred with a sharp piercing protruding from his botpeople gathered on the sleepy plaza – to dance. tom lip lent me his headphones, allowing me to Yet, remarkably, this reclamation of the public dodge the long queue at the beer table where sphere happened almost noiselessly: Thanks to they could be rented at €3 a piece. I switched bewireless headphones, the time-trodden church tween the channels: Slow-paced, ambient house courtyard was transformed into an outdoor si- versus upbeat rockabilly. Most of the dancers lent discotheque. had chosen the latter, their movements suddenly The staging was dramatic: Hemmed in on intelligible. My benefactor preferred the electro three sides, the Platz forms a perfectly symmetrical channel, so he could watch the bodies dance out space whose severity is broken only by a group of of synch. As such, what the two channels really off-centre oak trees. Two offered was the de-couidentical schoolhouses and re-coupling What the two channels really pling face each other across of hearing and vision, offered was the de-coupling the quad; their plain, almost attaining a rough-cast walls, lined drug-free state of haland re-coupling of hearing by gaunt, unadorned lucination. and vision, attaining a drugwindows, frame and This was not, howoffset the central strucever, a solitary high. By free state of hallucination. ture, the white-washed 23:00, the cobblestone ­baroque basilica. Domdance floor was filled inating the square in size and audacity, the façade with people. Rather than being isolating, the is whimsically convex: the central portico arches headphones paradoxically enhanced the converoutwards, accentuated by round semi-pillars, sup- sation of the dance, as partners tried to “read” porting an ironically oversized pediment. A gilt each other’s movements and synchronise their inscription proclaims in large, undecorated letters channels, broadcasting ever-changing genres VIRGO FIDELIS AVE COELESTIS MATER of music. As my dance partner of the hour – a AMORIS! (Hail to the Faithful Virgin of Heaven, girl with dark curly hair and a smile that exposed Mother of Love!) Framing the pediment are two a maddeningly sexy gap between her front teeth slender towers, topped with moss-green, sinewy – relaxed her body from a quick-stepped salsa spires, each ringed with a single girdle of shiny into the undulating movements of hip hop, I globes, a kinky feature to someone who has seen could tell that she had switched station. Tuning too much porn. In all, Lukas von Hildebrandt’s into the languorous beats of Jay Z myself, she playful design of 1699 strikes a surprisingly post- smiled as I, too, downed my pace and started modern tone. flapping my hands around as, supposedly, rapUnderneath the inscription, an ornate clock pers do. face told the hour: 10 p.m. For an event schedThe different channels also meant that conuled to end at midnight, there was very little stellations of dancers shifted, as groups formed motion: In the far left corner of the square, spontaneously when they shared a rhythm. The several DJs were busy at their decks, yet not a often-bizarre changes in musical style resulted in sound emerged; in front of them, a palm tree general hilarity and frequent collisions; but the consisting of fluorescent lights illumined an ar- atmosphere was so jovial that people greeted the resting scene. In the serene calm of the night, friction with a smile. here were clusters of people gleefully doing the Jumping around among the crowd in a twist in perfect silence. A lone man in his 30s tiny pair of ’70s-style running shorts was Olwas gyrating on his own, face skywards, in soli- iver Hangl, the 43-year-old artist and organiser tary ecstasy; a middle-aged woman in a short of the “Guerilla Disco”. He has experimented white dress performed athletic lurches with the with wireless headphones since 2005, developnoiseless focus of an evening tai-chi session. ing improvised semi-guided “Guerilla Walks” Now it was clear why so few people were ac- through Vienna, or the staging of audio-plays tually dancing. The others – spread out on flat for audiences circuiting the Ringstrasse by tram.

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Photo: Oliver Hangl

In large part, the relaxed atmosphere that night was due to Hangl and his team’s refreshingly hands-off approach: Until well after midnight, music continued to course through our ears, and we danced on, fearing that every song could be the last. In the end, this was a very Austrian revolution. We reclaimed the square, yes. But we did so in Jodok Fink’s spirit of compromise, allowing the 8th District to continue its slumber

undisturbed. There was no police, no dispersal order at midnight, and the entire happening was subsidised by the district authority. In Vienna, tradition and modernity are tender bedfellows. Long live the silent revolution! The next Guerilla Disco is taking place on Sept. 16, from 9pm, at the stage on Kupkagasse during the Josefstädter Straßenfest (see Special Events, p. 23).

Notes From Nature Magnificent Marillen By R S Hughes Veronika Unger brings a small glass dish to the table on her terrace before striking a match and lighting the cheap coffee grounds that it contains. As we sit and admire some of her 30 hectares of pine forest and gently undulating meadow, smoke wafts about us and the still August air is filled by a pungent smell of burned coffee. “To keep the wasps away,” she smiles, before disappearing into the kitchen to bring out a plateful of glistening Marillen and caramelized almond cakes. I have come to talk apricots and more with Veronika, who has been making her own jams and chutneys for nearly 40 years. Less than an hour’s drive from the centre of Vienna, her home is on the outskirts of the Wachau valley in the small, rural village of Gföhl, just 15 or so minutes north-west of Krems an der Donau. Like many Austrians living outside the city, Veronika is something of an authority on home-grown produce. As well as making her own apricot jams and chutneys which she exports to restaurants in Bavaria and Styria, Veronika shoots and butchers her own deer and wild boar, uses the grapes from her daughter Petra’s vineyard in Krems to produce various other jams and jellies, and collects her own herbs and wild mushrooms. “If you get really good porcini mushrooms,” she says, “all you have to do is slice them very finely and add olive oil, salt, pepper and a little parmesan.” But it’s the apricot that rules the roost in these parts. The oldest apricot stone found near here is about 4,000 years-old, Veronika says, and the first recipes for apricots in the area date from the beginning of the nineteenth century. “There are thousands and thousands of trees here,” she explains, adding that many of the locals are involved with the fruit in one way or another. Indeed, she feels that apricots are even enjoying something of a renaissance. “There are now more and more apricot farmers here. For the last two generations, nobody wanted to collect them or take care of the trees. But now the young people, they are keeping the tradition going. It’s big business.” But why apricots?

“It’s an extremely good climate for them,” she explains. “For wine and for apricots, warm days and cool nights are important.” In fact, the fruit is famous in the region. There are Marillen fests, Marillen Kirtags, even Marillen kings, queens and princesses. “In the spring time, when the blossom is on the trees, the Viennese come out to see it in droves. It’s white; everywhere is really white and very beautiful.” The apricots that Veronika uses are from a farmer friend in the Wachau. “He calls me up each July and says the apricots are in a really ripe state, and I have to go immediately,” she explains. “The best apricots are collected from the ground. They must be very, very soft – but healthy, never rotten.” We move on from the apricot cakes to Veronika’s apricot jam and chutney, the former, a fine balance of sweet and tartness, the latter tangy and intense, thanks to liberal quantities of fresh chilli. Then she wheels out a magnum of 10-year-old Marillen schnapps, produced by a neighbour. It’s strong but still fruity, and not so harsh and fiery as some of the Obstler I’ve tried. Just a few moments before, as I bumped down Veronika’s long, winding driveway flanked by scores of mountain ashes, I’d wondered whether the bright-red rowan berries hanging heavy on the branches too would find their way into her kitchen. Sure enough, she puts them to good use. Right on cue, Veronika brings to the table a pot of 5-year-old rowan jelly, a traditional accompaniment to game and venison. I take a spoonful; it has a subtle, floral taste. “Rowan berries are a lot of work, because they’re so small,” she says. “But they’re very medicinal, very good for digestion.” And then, though it’s still only early afternoon, there’s another glug, glug, glug as Veronika pours a 2006 rowan berry schnapps, made by another neighbour. It’s strong and earthy; more fiery than the Marillen schnapps we tasted earlier, but still good. “When you come to the countryside in Austria,” says Veronika with a smile, “we use just about everything.” For more information about where to try or buy Unger produce, see:

06.09.2011 21:48:11 Uhr

Scenes of Vienna A stranger to the cult of canine companionship tries to get a handle on a venerable Viennese obsession

Dog Day Afternoon by Peter Diller The full heat of summer was bearing down on my shoulders as I stood outside the gate of the Wiener Trabrennverein, the raceway for equine trotters and pacers at Krieau, panting in the pervasive heat. But that was alright; I was in good company. Today was the first annual Hundetag, a gathering for dog lovers and their canine companions, panting their hearts out. No leash or muzzles required. I have never been a fan of dogs. In my experience they are outdoor animals whose purpose is to protect and keep company while work is done. People in the house; animals in the barn. When I first came to Vienna, I was disturbed that dogs were allowed in a restaurant, let alone served a bowl of water. I was astounded to see people pushing dogs in baby prams, and pulling them in trolleys behind their bikes. The idea of a dog being as beloved as a child, or perhaps more, seemed grotesque. But over the years I have grown more comfortable with the Austrians and their four-legged obsessions. As soon as I entered the gate, the smell hit me. Hot hair and hound breath sponsored by Purina. I lit a cigarette to protect my senses and proceeded to survey the booths. Most were stocked with specialty pet items: High-end collars, studded leashes, and customizable bowls were the standard fare. As I wandered through the grounds, the offerings got more bizarre, while “Who Let the

Dogs Out” seemed to be playing on a constant loop. One booth offered special Christmas photos for your inter-species family. Another arranged dog-friendly vacations. And yet another provided doggie massages. None of these things seemed out of place. Rather they came across very naturally in an environment populated by canine-caregiver pairs who looked like matching sets. Events unfolded throughout the day. The first was an agility course. As I sat in the shade, I watched owners practicing the course without their dogs. Running by the hoops, swinging their arms over hurdles, tracing the steps of an imaginary animal that would do anything they commanded. As the first round of dogs ran the course, they did just that, often following their keepers in the wrong direction. The races were held on the trotting track, in front of the grandstands. Put in heats according to size, dogs were pitted against one another in groups of six. One of the participants held the animals at the start, while another coaxed them past the finish line. Standing in the mostly empty bleachers above the crowd at the rail, I watched several heats. The old saying, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” rang true as the most uncontrollable, barking pups left the rest in the dust. Where do I place my bet? And why?

What some women will risk for a bouquet of flowers

give. And there she stood, her right arm, with the precious flowers in hand, stuck between the doors. “I tried to pull my arm out, but I wanted the flowers too,” she remembered, “so I was trying to wedge the doors open with the other hand…” Suddenly, the tram started to move. By that time, her husband had joined, with the friends close behind, all screaming at her to pull her arm out and leave the #%&@ flowers. Huge brouhaha and something close to panic. Finally, Michelle managed to yank her arm out, leaving the bouquet pinned between the doors with the stems sticking out of the tram, just as a fellow on roller blades whizzed passed, nearly colliding with one of the quests. What else can happen, Michelle thought, shaken, and picturing the “what ifs” if she hadn’t removed her arm – and yet, still bereft over the lost flowers. For several minutes, they stood there at the tram stop in shock, laughing nervously, a frantic Oskar berating Michelle for taking such a risk, when suddenly, out of nowhere, the roller-blader reappeared, skating straight for them. He was carrying the bouquet. Silently, he handed the lost flowers to the astonished Michelle with a slight tilt of his helmeted head and a respectful and debonair bow. “It was if we were back in the royal Habsburg court,” Michelle said, still amazed at the memory. Her effusive “Thank you so much” was still hanging in the air, when he quickly turned and skated away into the darkness.

Rosenkavalier by Dardis McNamee Vienna on a summer evening: Michelle, a Canadian scientist, and her Austrian husband Oskar were meeting some American friends on a one-night stopover of a Danube river cruise. Michelle and Oskar had arranged to meet them in the lobby of the Hilton am Stadtpark. They arrived to find their friends waiting with a sumptuous bouquet of flowers for their hostess. “It was one of those glorious, colourful masterpieces with sunflowers, roses, and more, wrapped in a bright crepe paper ‘Manschette’ holding them together, the way they do so well in the Viennese flower shops,” she said, still glowing. It was a joyous reunion. They had a drink together and talked about the boat trip, and an hour or so later, started to make their way to dinner at ‘Zum Alten Heller’ on Ungargasse. At the table, the waiter produced a glass vase with water for the flowers, and so the magnificent bouquet adorned the table for all to enjoy, while they had an excellent dinner and a great time catching up, as wine and conversation flowed. It was a lovely September evening as the four headed back towards the hotel; but one of the guests was feeling a little unsteady, so they decided on a whim to catch the tram. They waited. And waited. No tram. It was getting late and it was not clear if the tram line was still running. So they began to walk again. However, just as they had crossed to the other side of the street, the tram arrived. Michelle raced back across, making for the back of the second car, and leaned on the door waiting for the others to arrive. But as she stood there, the tram doors started to close. “It was one of those older trams with folding double doors and a couple of stairs to climb up. Thinking that I could re-open the doors with an automatic sensor, I put my right arm into the tram as the doors were closing,” she said, ruefully. That was the arm that was attached to the hand that was holding the bouquet. The doors clamped tightly on her forearm and wouldn’t

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Photo: David Reali

The Vienna Review

September 2011

Beside the grandstand was a large pool. A crowd gathered around it to watch another, stranger event: dog diving. It seemed like a sporting enough idea, but the reality fell short of my expectations. Dogs were put on a platform in front of the overly attentive crowd and a toy was tossed into the water. Of all the dogs I watched, few seemed keen on the idea of retrieving the toy from a pool only centimetres below the platform. Most of the pouting pups whined and pawed at the water, walking in circles before committing to getting wet, much to the crowd’s pleasure. The last, and possibly most bizarre, was the Dog Dancing Fun Tournament. Three judges sat to the side of a section of racetrack, as selected American pop-country music blared from the sound system. An owner and her pet took


centre stage, doing synchronized command routines. Shania Twain’s “No One Needs To Know” played as a large woman had her tiny dog running in between her legs as they stepped across the dirt track. As the song came to a close, she fell on her knees, throwing her arms and her head back, while her pup leaped onto her chest and proceeded to lick her face. I had to excuse myself. As I left the event, I came to empathize with the patrons. Though I failed to grasp the Viennese “Hund-Obsession”, I understood that this event wasn’t for the dogs. It was for the owners. There was something comforting in the idea of a group of people gathering for a lively afternoon with nothing in common other than a spoiled animal and a lack of social skills.

The first annual Hundetag at Krieau. An event not only for dogs.

Photo: Peter Diller

Brief Encounters Tales of Everyday Life Moral Hazard I was riding my bike down the Wiedner Hauptstrasse the other day on my way to work, when a police officer pulled me over. Now what? He looked at me very sternly: I was riding on a tram lane, he informed me, whipping out his ticket book. (The tram lane is slightly raised in this section to separate it from the traffic). I rolled my eyes, but of course said nothing; I’m not suicidal. But it was patently unfair. I had been on a very legal bike lane until then, but here, it ends, and there is no other lane that’s safe. Riding this way is also shorter, of course. You’re supposed to turn off just above, onto Paulanergasse, which leads to a long-winded detour that only makes sense to city planners. Who in his right mind is going to do that? Like all the cyclists from my neighbourhood, I have been riding ont this streetcar lane for years, and there have never been any police to check. Didn’t this guy have anything better to do? It was evident that I was experiencing “Aktion Scharf” – the crackdown on bike rowdies recently announced by Vienna City Hall. With unseemly satisfaction, the policeman fined me €21, then and there. So Vienna is changing. And then again, maybe not. As I mounted my bike again, it occurred to me to ask how to continue. He shrugged. “Sure! Go ahead,” he agreed cheerfully. “After all, you’ve already paid for it.” So I plugged in my earphones and rode off, unsure whether to feel pleasure or utter dismay. Stefan Apfl The Pleasures of Home On a remote bench somewhere near the Riesenrad, my friend and I were fully engaged in a heated conversation about the flat we had just gone to look at: renovated, but too dark, the area is nice, but it’s not furnished... “How awful it is to be homeless in Vienna...,” we sighed. Suddenly, “Oida!”, that choice bit of Viennese dialect, derived from “Alter,” or “old chap”, but now hardly more than punctuation. A woman in her mid-forties, sauced to the gills, at least as much as any Wednesday would allow it, was staggering our way on what seemed like a mission of destruction. I felt obliged to light her half-cigarette after she gave me a piercing stare. But she would have none of it. “You men are all scum!” she hissed at me.

For some reason it didn’t seem appropriate to let her know that I was a girl. “Do you have a house?” she asked abruptly. “No...we’re actually...,” my friend attempted. “I have a home,” she interrupted. “My own personal one. Like a normal, decent human being. Not like you.” Baffled, we waited to see what she would say next. Quite taken with my friend, she then pointed at me and concluded sagely: “It’s alright if you love him... her... whatever. Just get a home, and then you’ll be okay. Like me.” And that was the moment we decided not to take the flat. Cristina Rotaru An Unsafe Aura On the ÖBB InterCity from Leoben to Vienna, a woman in red and black sat across the aisle. Around 65, her striking face lined with age, she was carefully made up, with red lipstick accenting the contours of her lips to perfection. In her hands was a magazine, Tarot Week. She turned the pages to study every article with great interest. All of a sudden her phone rang. It took her a couple of seconds to realize it was hers – or maybe she was just too captivated by the article about “Moonlight and its Effect”. When she finally picked up, her face lightened up. “Hey sweetie, how are you?” she chirped into the phone. I found myself listening in spite of myself. “Yes, yes, I’m alright. It’s fine now. Don’t worry about me...” Her face clouded. The redlipstick-lips became a thin line. What had happened to her? I held my breath. It was like being in the movies. “It seemed alright,” she continued, “A seat next to four young girls – but then suddenly they took out these ‘notebooks’ – you know, not real notebooks, computers! – and opened them on their laps! Can you believe it?!” I frowned. What was wrong with four girls with laptops? “But don’t worry...” She paused. “I’ve already moved to a different seat – it’s much safer here,” she sighed again. “I don’t think the rays can reach me here.” Then as effortlessly as she had begun, she moved on to her latest reflections on the mysteries of Tarot, the legends that had so fascinated the great psychologist Carl Jung, and to the spiritual meanings of symbolic language, once practiced by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Hannah Stadlober

06.09.2011 21:48:15 Uhr


The Vienna Review September 2011

On Wittgenstein and cultural history, with Prof. Allan Janik

No Corner on the Truth By Dardis McNamee Allan Janik began teaching in Vienna in a Kaffeehaus. That was in 1989, and space was in short supply. He didn’t even get a classroom, much less an office. But this suited Janik just fine. He’s a philosopher and intellectual historian, and a Kaffeehaus was where he belonged. “I’m basically an anarchist,” he confessed, when we met at the Café Bräunerhof in late August. These were good teaching years for Janik, who flourished in the free-wheeling atmosphere of a university with a long intellectual tradition and few rules. “In those days, the students did what they wanted to,” Janik said. “They pushed me around something terrible, but they were so brilliant, so interesting, it got to be fun to listen.” Janik is a good listener, and it was through listening to what wasn’t being said that he began his inquiry into Wittgenstein and the city that created him. Before he and Toulmin set to work, the prevailing understanding of Wittgenstein had emerged from his time in Cambridge, England, under the wing of Bertrand Russell, who considered him a genius, “passionate, profound, intense, and dominating,” and his great Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus a work of logic. “This meant ignoring the part of the Tractatus that Wittgenstein considered ‘the point of the book,’” Janik said. He and Toulmin believed that “the greatest philosopher’s works were almost inevitably a response to the perplexities and conundrums his society faced.” Often these were not strictly philosophical, but religious or aesthetic, scientific or political. “We radically rejected the notion that there was such a thing as ‘philosophical truth’” Janik

TVR_32_09_11 32

Kaffeehaus wrote in 1985, “to which only people termed philosophers by virtue of some professional training had access. No one has a corner on that kind of truth.” Completed 40 years ago in 1971 and published two years later, Wittgenstein’s Vienna preceded virtually all other major works in the field. Many of the now familiar sources were not yet available, leaving some things to conjecture. “We had Carl Schorske’s essays, for example, but not his book (Fin de Siecle Vienna) which came out later. And our book was already at the press when William Johnston’s book (The Austrian Mind) came out,” Janik said. “So we had to fall back on circumstantial evidence of what we though thought Vienna would look like to someone with Wittgenstein’s concerns. In the mean time, we know that it wasn’t so far off, but not completely on target either. We would write this differently today.” But books have a life of their own. “Toulmin used to say they are are like children,” Janik remembered. “Once you bring them into the world, they go their own way. We were surprised at it’s success; we thought we were writing for an audience of philosophers!” Not that Wittgenstein’s Vienna didn’t have it’s critics: “People misunderstood what we were up to, some very dramatically,” Janik said. Arthur Koessler (author of Darkness at Noon), whom Janik admired, wrote a scathing review in the Observer. “‘Don’t read what Janik wrote’, Koessler said – and called me ‘an abominable stylist.’ I always wanted to put that on the book jacket!” Many of the old Vienna and Central Europe scholars thought it was “a real hack job,” Janik remembered. “On the other hand no one had done it – and no one did anything afterward, or tried to do it better. We could have kept researching this forever. But we agreed, this was something we wanted to get out.” One has the sense that Janik has felt isolated in academia in Austria. Having broken new ground, he often still finds himself alone in his approach to intellectual history here. All the important work in the field, he told me, has been done by foreigners. The most important book on Egon Schiele is by a Frenchman, Jean-Louis Gaillemin; the definitive biography of Karl Kraus, by an Englishman Edward Tims; for Adolph Loos, the best book, he says, is by a Dane.

Prof Allan Janik at Cafe Bräunerhof. Photo: D. Reali

“I was always disappointed in my historian colleagues,” Janik admitted. “They are very good at documenting everything around a figure, they can dig up all the bits and pieces relating to a Klimt or a Schiele. But then the interpretation.

How do you compare this to French impressionism? How to compare with other forms – they don’t know how to do that. They don’t even have the European perspective. “You’ve got to be able to do more than document; you’ve got to be able to think in analogies, to feel out their limits. I quit on Vienna, because I’d been talking to people who were nodding their heads very politely, but who weren’t not really listening.” Here, finally, seems to be the heart of Janik’s intellectual quest. “It’s about how you write about cultural history; In the Anglo Saxon world, it’s written by historians. Here people can only do this in German studies, or the occasional art historian. And they don’t have an adequate set of conceptual tools for interpreting social change, or cultural change for that matter. It is hard to imagine having a short conversation with Allan Janik; his knowledge is vast and his interests irrepressible. Over the course of two and a half hours, we ventured far beyond Wittgenstein or Vienna. But the initial concerns that originally fascinated him with Wittgenstein continue to be relevant. “Rethinking Wittgenstein’s place, in the hypocrisies and ambiguities of his time…” he paused. “What I find so terribly frustrating, is how hard it is to get anybody to be honest, to engage in an honest public debate. Austrian politics is sham politics.” Still, or maybe again. So Janik is engaged on a new study of the foundations of the Christian Democracy of EU founder Robert Schumann, as a way of shedding light on the current degeneration of the political parties in Austria across Europe. “What is politics, what is pluralism? How do we ask these questions (with out the political framework), ” he wonders? “What does it mean to speak with people who have legitimate differences with you, and how can we ever talk about something like the common good.” Still, he takes satisfaction in the perennial success of Wittgenstein’s Vienna, that allowed him to raise the questions closest to his heart. “It’s not clear whom we convinced, but at a certain point, ours became the running thesis,” he said, shaking his head. Then he smiled. “This goes to show what the history of ideas can do!”

06.09.2011 21:53:04 Uhr

The Vienna Review 09/11  

Voices of the new Europe

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