Giving Gas – wise words from Austrofred

Austrofred has dedicated some of his precious time to the Austrian Culture Channel’s e-mail Q&A. Find out what he thinks about festivals, the Queen musical and Austrian football. Check out the Austrian Culture Channel for part two next week when The Champion (www.austrofred.at) reveals all!

My best gig so far this year…
Donauinsel was great because of the mass of fans, but others were also
good. I very much liked the dynamics of my Ebensee show.

Touring…
Hard work, but good money if you know how to do business

Performing on the Austrian countryside…
“Different”

Festivals…
Many people, but often problems with the catering. Plus dirt. Normally I
prefer a good club show to a festival, but as an entertainer you have to
be where the people are.

My online diary…
way to communicate with my numberless fans

Backstage catering…
Essential

The Queen musical…
Totally ok with me, but don’t ask me about the concerts of “Queen” with
Adam Lambert!

The day Freddie Mercury died…
Maybe the saddest day of my life. Even sadder than when as a child my
rabbit Lastwagen was cooked. Lastwagen was the name of the rabbit.

Austrian football…
Better than some people think, although I suffer very much because
Salzburg flew out against Düdelingen.

To fight corruption, I would…
What is “Selbstanzeige” in English? No, this is fun of course. I am very
uncorrupt.

My secret guilty pleasure: …
After Eight

Occupy the Wien Museum!

A fantastic exhibit about Vienna’s movements of occupation and resistance against politically motivated renovation and construction actions and is now on display at one of the city’s most prestigious museums.

The Wien Museum’s “Besetzt” exhibition portrays the various occupy activities of the Austrian capital – from the beginnings in the 1970s when representatives of its flower power movement gathered at the Schlachthof grounds to current feuds in various districts with strongly differentiating intentions and goals. Furthermore, the exhibit offers and overview of similar occurrences just across the border to explain what the youth of the biggest cities of Switzerland and Germany have been fighting for.

Newspaper articles, TV features and photographs take the exhibit’s visitors straight on the different battlegrounds. However, the general question of why it took Vienna’s left-wing rebels some years to get as active as their contemporaries abroad remains unconsidered. Especially the large number from of photos from the 1970s and 1980s which “Besetzt” is featuring make a trip to the Wien Museum (www.wienmuseum.at) worthwhile.

Africa for Austria

Sunshine and a good time – these are terms many of the people of Vienna link with their beloved Donauinsel, the city’s most popular recreation area. Good vibes and a unique atmosphere will be added to this wonderful combination in a few days when the festival returns.

Singers, bands, percussionists and dancers from all over the world will take to the stage between 26. July and 12 August. Many of them come from Africa while others are linked to African culture and lifestyle in manifold ways. The line-up of this year’s Afrika Tage festival includes Mamadou Diabate, Courtney Jones & De Funky Calypso Band from Trinidad & Tobago and German reggae star Jahcoustix.

Aminata & the Astronauts, Jennifer Washington and Dutch blues virtuoso Hans Theessink, who has been based in Vienna for many years, are at the ready too. The event’s varied line-up also features several percussionists and dancers. For a full schedule and more information, visit http://www.afrika-tage.at

Burgkino: ‘Woody Allen: A Documentary’, ‘Cosmopolis’

A new documentary about director Woody Allen and David Cronenberg’s new film “Cosmopolis” will be on at the Burgkino Vienna this Wednesday (25 July).

Woody Allen: A Documentary” by Robert B. Weide (“How to Lose Friends & Alienate People”) features interviews with the portrayed Hollywood legend himself as well as conversations with some of his films’ stars including Scarlett Johansson (“Match Point”) and Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”).

Expectations on Cronenberg are high as “Cosmopolis” follows the release of the strongly acclaimed triangle of “A History of Violence”, “Eastern Promises and “A Dangerous Method”. Robert Pattinson stars alongside Paul Giamatti (“Shoot ‘Em Up”) and Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”). For starting times and more information about the popular English-language cinema located in the heart of Vienna, visit its website: http://www.burgkino.at.

Firewater burn

One of the most exciting live bands are ready to fire up Vienna’s Szene later this year.

Firewater, the celebrated American folk-punk outfit fronted by Tod A. are due to perform at the club in Simmering on 22 October. The band are well-known for their song “Get out of my head” from their acclaimed album “Psychopharmacology”, but it is their ability to merge several musical genres which fascinates more and more fans. In addition to their impressive discography, Firewater have lived up to their name thanks to terrific performances across the globe.

“International Orange”, the band’s seventh album and successor of 2008 record “The Golden Hour”, will hit the shelves in September. Apart from Firewater, Orange County-based Fu Manchu (26 September, metal act Soulfly (15 October) and many more will rock the Szene in the coming months. Visit http://www.szenewien.com for ticket information.

Book look: grammar guide, Schakfeh in the spotlight, TdF 1924

While the interest in Asian languages is likely to rise over the coming years considering emerging markets’ developments, English remains the first-choice foreign language of Austrian kids. However, the language’s importance in travelling and its clear number one position in business appear to be unchallenged too – at least as far as the foreseeable future is concerned. “Grammatik für die Schule” is a new compact guide helping learners to understand and practice English grammar. The pocket-format publication informs about tenses, prepositions and other essential aspects of the language – but also stumbling stones students must watch out for. Lutz Walther’s work can also be recommended to everyone interested in updating their knowledge of English grammar.

Grammatik für die Schule
By Lutz Walther
Published by Langenscheidt (www.langenscheidt.de)

Anas Schafkeh headed the Austrian Islamic Denomination (IGGiÖ) for 12 years until 2011. A new biography portrays the influential personality who managed to modernise vast parts of the religious community to ensure a peaceful coexistence with members of other denominations in the Alpine country.  Former People’s Party (ÖVP) Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel praises Schakfeh for “giving Islam in Austria a face, a voice and a personal identity”. “Anas Schafkeh. Das österreichische Gesicht des Islam” has been written by Farid Hafez, a political scientist who teaches at Vienna University. In his book, the Austrian-born expert of Islam looks back on Schakfeh’s childhood but also analyses how he reacted to the changes in the society after the 9/11 terror attacks and during the seven-year partnership of the ÖVP and the rightist Freedom Party (FPÖ).

Anas Schafkeh. Das österreichische Gesicht des Islam
By Farid Hafez
Published by Braumüller (www.braumueller.at)

Albert Londres brilliantly documented the Tour de France back in 1924. Now his journals, which were released in French newspaper Le Petit Parisien in June and July 1924, have been published in German for the first time. The book about the “prisoners of the road” does not leave out negative aspects of the sport highlight of that year since it also deals with the doping scandals of that time. The many excellent photographs which “Die Strafgefangenen der Landstraße” is including almost enforce every cycling enthusiast to get their own copy. Especially photos documenting the bustling activity at the refreshment stands erected for the participants and images showing them fixing their broken bikes highlight how things have changed over the decades.

Die Strafgefangenen der Landstraße
By Albert Londres
Published by Covadonga (www.covadonga.de)

Book look: tireless Schmidt, Grass’ greatness, German deciphered

Several biographies of Helmut Schmidt have fared well in the German book charts over the past years. Books published by Schmidt have not done badly either since the former German Social Democratic Party (SPD) chancellor is seen as one of the most important analyser of world politics. Now Germany’s Pantheon publishing house has released a collection of articles by personalities associated with Schmidt. The “Freitagsgesellschaft” society members debate the most urgent issues of today – and do not shy away from declaring their positions. In “Vertiefungen”, Peter Schulz analyses changes in the juridical system of China while Bartholomäus Grill examines Africa’s challenges and opportunities. “Vertiefungen” also features texts by Hans Küng, Richard von Weizsäcker and Schmidt’s late wife, Loki Schmidt.

Vertiefungen
By Helmut Schmidt
Published by Pantheon (www.randomhouse.de/pantheon)

Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Günter Grass recently caused global outcry by harshly criticising Israel’s anti-Iranian policies in the ongoing feud about the Islamic country’s development of nuclear technology. “Lebenslang”, a newly published collection of poems, resets the focus on the German writer’s excellence. The publication – now out by Suhrkamp / Insel Verlag – includes 34 poems. While some of them date back to the 1950s, others were released for the first time just a few years ago.

Lebenslang
By Günter Grass
Published by Suhrkamp / Insel Verlag (www.suhrkamp.de)

German might be not be the first pick when it comes to thinking about which foreign language is worth putting some real effort into learning. Now Thomas Steinfeld, a renowned Germanist has compiled a book in which he examines poets’ styles but also phrases used by fat cat bankers to identify his mother tongue as true art – and a fearsome weapon. His 270-page work is a challenging read at some stages but worth considering by anyone keen on finding out more about this rather complex language.

Der Sprachverführer
By Thomas Steinfeld
Published by DTV Premium (www.dtv.de)