Graz kids brace for Bosse

Festivals are in the focus of rock fans this week. However, superb concerts will take place in the coming weeks as well.

A good example for great gigs of excellent artists who are not among the big mainstream names is what is set to happen in Graz.1

Awolnation, an electronic rock band from the United States, will rock the Styrian city on 13 August.

The highlight of the following month is the performance by Vanilla Sky, a punk rock band from Italian capital Rome (13 September).

Funeral for a Friend, a band from Wales with fans all over the globe, will come to Graz on 17 October to present their new studio album “Conduit”.

On 25 October, Bosse will give a concert in Graz. The singer’s most recent album “Kraniche” reached fourth place in the German charts earlier this year.

Jamaram jet ready for takeoff

One of Europe’s most exciting reggae acts will rock Austria in the coming weeks.

Jamaram, a popular nine-member band from Germany, are at the ready to present their new album “La Famille”. Tonight, Jamaram will perform in Eisenberg in southern Burgenland. Within the next few months, the Munich-based band will hit the stage in several German cities including Cologne, Augsburg and Bochum. However, Jamaram’s schedule also features a gig in Vienna (4 August). The concert will take place on the Danube Island as part of the Afrika Tage festival (www.afrika-tage.at).

Already last year, Jamaram were part of the event’s line-up. Their 2012 Afrika Tage performance is considered as one of the highlights of the popular festival which will once more draw this country’s fans of reggae, hip hop and soul.
jamaram
Established in 2000, Jamaram gave more than 1,000 concerts ever since. Over the years, the band released several studio albums, a live record and a DVD. Jamaram – who will perform in Steyr, Upper Austria, on 13 December and in Vienna the following day – are loved for merging reggae rhythms with funky sounds and wonderful melodies. A powerful bass, long instrumentals and lyrics in several languages are distinguishing features of their music.

For more information about the band and their current tour, visit http://www.jamaram.de

A few more questions for… Danielle Spera

The Austrian Culture Channel had a few more questions for Danielle Spera, the head of Vienna’s Jewish Museum (JMW, http://www.jmw.at).

Right-wing politicians in Austria used to attack Jewish people in speeches, especially during election campaigns. It seems that, in recent years, they rather focused on criticising Muslims for their alleged refusal to integrate. What are your thoughts on these developments?

Also these politicians have to recognize that Austrian society is changing. We have lots of pupils and students as our visitors in the Museum, these classes are totally different now, they are much more multi-ethnic and therefore very interesting to work with in educational terms. Politicians who close their eyes and do not acknowledge the transition will eventually lose their electorate, which will definitely be a positive development.1

Speaking of your current exhibition – do you have a favourite Jewish joke, comedian or entertainer?

Definitely John Stewart. I love his news shows. Talking about Austria, I grew up with great comedians like Karl Farkas. My parents watched all his shows on TV. And of course Ephraim Kishon.

Are you satisfied with the way the JMW is positioned in cultural Vienna today? First of all I am satisfied that is now positioned at all. This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the museum, it was overdue that has found his way to the cultural map of this city which was influenced in so many ways by the Viennese Jews over the century. With our new permanent exhibition we will be happy to position the museum also as a tool to tell the recent Austrian History from a Jewish perspective and with that fill a void, which unfortunately was existing.

Many people are unsure about visiting a museum which focuses on Jewish culture because of the terrible actions before and after the war. Especially an exhibit about Jewish humour could be something lots of people might have problems to relate with because they rather link Jewish culture with mourning and commemoration of the Nazis’ victims. What would you like to tell them?

The Jewish religion is a very joyful one. It is imperative that you live your life in a positive manner and take advantage and wisely use of all the preconditions that have been given to you at the time of your birth. The Jewish wit and humour plays an important role in the Jewish history. It could not vanish all the sorrow and painful experiences that happened to the Jewish people but it certainly made it easier to overcome them. It is vital to show also this aspect. We as Jews do not want to define ourselves only over the Shoah. It is definitely the most horrible event in our history but we have to look to the future. The same is the case with our narrative in the museum. To show the great history with all its discontinuities and of course also the Shoah, but at the same time to concentrate on Jewish life in Vienna today. 68 years after WWII there exists a vital an very vibrant Jewish community, small but very energetic.

Book look: the Flick Empire, TV shopping and language-learning

The Flick family is one of Europe’s most impressive industrial dynasties. Now a team of authors created a great book to decipher the many disputed issues that surround the family’s biography. 1Regardless which political group was in charge in Germany, the Flick family always soldiered on. Immensely successful over centuries, economic issues always seemed to matter more than political statements and declarations. Norbert Frei, a historian, cooperated with Jörg Osterloh, Ralf Ahrens and Tim Schanetzky in evaluating thousands of documents about the Flick Empire – a task which took them over four years. The Flicks are often described as a perfect example for ruthless capitalism in the 20th century. Furthermore, they are an important part of the history of Germany. Surviving several economic downturns, the Flick family succeeded in the steel and paper industry, chemical and production as well as in mechanical engineering.

Flick. Der Konzern, die Familie, die Macht.
By Norbert Frei, Ralf Ahrens, Jörg Osterloh and Tim Schanetzky
Published by Pantheon (www.randomhouse.de/pantheon)

A broadcaster’s sales manager reveals unbelievable but true occurrences from the world of TV shopping. In “Wenn Sie jetzt anrufen, bekommen Sie den Moderator gratis dazu”, Andrea Volk writes about extraordinary marketing measures carried out by the channels which experience a hype in Germany and Austria – despite the enormous possibilities offered to shopaholics by the internet. Some of the actions revealed by her have obvious manipulative tendencies. While speaking bluntly about the ways how customers are almost enforced to snatch up the products on offer, Volk does not neglect the amusing aspects of the crazy universe of television shopping.

Wenn Sie jetzt anrufen, bekommen Sie den Moderator gratis dazu
By Andrea Volk
Published by Heyne (www.heyne-hardcore.de)

A German publishing house has released a course book for people interested in learning German which includes English translations. Each unit of the new release – compiled by Eva Heinrich and Andrew Maurer – features boxes in which the most important words are summarised and translated into English. This aspect will surely help people getting better quickly. The language-learning package – now out by Cornelsen – also includes two 70-minute CDs of dialogues. Subjects such as introducing the family, conversations by travellers and childhood memories are presented. In their introducing words, the book’s authors underline the immense important of German since it is the official language in several European countries.

German. Deutsch als Fremdsprache
By Eva Heinrich & Andrew Maurer
Published by Cornelsen (www.cornelsen.de)

Book look travel special: Hanover

Hanover has it all – well, almost. The city has its own airport, excellent museums and outstanding shopping opportunities. However, it lacks a picturesque city centre such as the one of Hamburg or Munich. Hanover’s heart is a nice pedestrian area and a paradise for fans of fashion – but visitors might be disappointed by the low number of old buildings. This has also to do with the destructions during the war.

The nonexistence of ancient houses is the only weak spot of this vibrant city. Hanover – constantly competing with Wolfsburg and Göttingen for the title of the coolest place in the region – can offer a considerable number of great museums and galleries. The Sprengel Museum (www.sprengel-museum.de) must be mentioned first. This institution, located at the beautiful Maschsee lake, currently hosts a special exhibition on Kurt Schwitters’ time in England. Its permanent exhibit is simply sensational as it features paintings by Pablo Picasso, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and many others.

Hanover’s Historical Museum (www.historisches-museum-hannover.de) is worth a visit as well. In several regards, its offerings are similar to the ones of the Wien Museum in Vienna. Tourists can find out more about the city’s past – from preindustrial times to wartime political campaigning. Other extraordinary attractions visitors should consider are the Museum August Kestner (www.museum-august-kestner.de), the SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERANiedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hanover (www.landesmuseum-hannover.niedersachsen.de) and the Deutsches Museum für Karikatur and Zeichenkunst (www.karikatur-museum.de) which focuses on Wilhelm Busch.

When it comes to the question of which city of the area is worth a visit, the Austrian Culture Channel can strongly recommend going to Braunschweig. The train journey lasts just half an hour, and visitors are rewarded with several remarkable sights, especially churches, but also some museums and a fine selection of stores.

For more information on Hanover, Dumont’s Bildaltas is the best choice. Published in A4 format, this catalogue-like travel guide offers brilliant pictures, useful tips and listings of the most important phone numbers and internet addresses as well as maps of the city and the region.

Dumont Bildatlas Hanover
By Andrea Lammert and Martin Kirchner
Published by Dumont (www.dumontreise.de)

The Austrian Culture Channel recommends the VEK Business Hotel. Situated just a 10-minute walk from Hanover station, this hotel is the perfect starting point for a day trip to Celle, Goslar and Hildesheim. Go to http://www.vek-business-hotel.de or call +49 511 655 72 70 for room rates and information concerning availability.

Book look travel special: Nice

Nice, the beautiful city in southern France, is the holiday destination of choice of people from all over the world throughout the year – and a new travel guide is the perfect companion for having a good time there.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Great galleries like the Musee Matisse, bustling street markets in the ancient town centre and an immense variety of shops – Nice has got it all. The city’s open and friendly people and its wonderful surrounding landscape ensure memorable holidays.

Jördis Kimpfler lives in a small town near the Mediterranean hotspot. For Marco Polo, the journalist created an excellent guide. The book contains many insider tips, lots of background information and a foldable map which can be taken out and used separately. Furthermore, the Marco Polo guide to Nice lists the trendiest stores, coolest nightlife venues and finest restaurants.

Marco Polo: Nizza
By Jördis Kimpfler
Published by Marco Polo (www.marcopolo.de)

The Austrian Culture Channel can recommend the Hotel de Suede. Its location close to the beach and the main pedestrian area make it an ideal starting point for a trip through the city by foot. For more information, visit http://www.hoteldesuedenice.com or call +33 493 887 373.

A few questions for… Danielle Spera

Danielle Spera was one of Austria’s most popular television personalities before becoming director of the Viennese Jewish Museum (JMW, http://www.jmw.at). Read here what Spera thinks about her very special farewell at national broadcaster ORF and if she misses working as anchorwoman.

What was your happiest moment being in charge at the Jewish Museum of Vienna – and what was the hardest?

Luckily there are so many happy moments and very few hard ones. I feel content whenever we are successfully opening a show, which always is a great teamwork. It is a wonderful experience to be able to work with a great group of curators, who support the new positioning of the museum now wholeheartedly. I also was very glad when we managed to get a budget to renovate the Jewish Museum’s main building, which was left to me in a devastating state – concerning the technical and logistical equipment and when we reached the goal to open after a very short renovation period. There were very few difficult moments when I started to take over the museum’s management, which I consider as good learning experiences.

What did it feel like to lose your voice during your final “Zeit im Bild” appearance?

Unfortunately I had caught a cold right at this very day. To lose the voice is a nightmare for everybody who has to work with it, like singers, actors or newscasters. I was sorry that I could not say good bye to the audience in my regular way after 22 years of being an anchor of the prime time news. But on the other hand it was an unforgettable news-show for the viewers as well as for me. It will always stay in my memory.

Do you miss the journalistic work?

No I don’t because I am still working a lot in journalistic terms. I am writing for the Jewish newspaper NU, holding lectures and I am a representative on the board of ORF3 and the European TV channel arte.
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What is more stressful – being anchorwoman of the ORF’s most important news show or director of a museum located in the heart of Vienna?

It is not a matter of stress, both – my profession as a reporter and newscaster as well as my current position – mean a lot of interesting work which causes a lot of positive energy which is very fulfilling. The Jewish Museum Vienna is one of the most outstanding cultural sights in Vienna and definitely one of the most interesting Jewish Museums in Europe. Therefore it is a pleasure to work here, to prepare exhibitions together with a group of exceptional curators. At the moment we are not only working on our changing shows but first and most important on our new core exhibition which will be the only exhibition in Vienna that also deals with the current Austrian History since 1945.

Apart from the Viennese Jewish Museum, which other Austrian museums and galleries do you like?

Fortunately Vienna offers a broad range of culture, so it is a pleasure to choose among such a great variety.  It also depends if I am attending a museum on my own or with my family.

Do you agree with the way the official Austria deals with its dark past (World War Two, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust)? It took a very long time until Austria finally faced its past and many people still have problems in dealing with the history. But it was in fact the so called- Waldheim affair, which made this process possible and a politician like Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, who was the first high ranking Austrian politician, who openly acknowledged Austria’s role in the holocaust. Since then things are developing in the right direction.

Book look: Bernd Stöver

Bernd Stöver’s new book, a 1760-page tome about the history of the USA, is out now. The German historian, who lectures at the University of Potsdam, analyses the country’s cultural and economic development as well as political constellations.

Stöver deals with the dark chapter of slavery, the power of pop culture and the importance of Hollywood’s movie business in “United States of America. Geschichte und Kultur – Von der ersten Kolonie bis zur Gegenwart”. The author also dedicates several chapters of the book – which contains several maps, photographs and statistics – to the various wars the United States were involved in and clarifies various contradictions. He describes how politicians eventually decided to throw nuclear bombs on Japanese cities.

Stöver does an excellent job in explaining why the USA became a global superpower as far as political and economic issues are concerned. The university professor – who previously released books about Berlin, the capital city of Germany, and the Cold War – investigates the mentality of Americans and analyses why indestructible patriotism plays such a key role in various chapters of the country’s history.

United States of America
By Bernd Stöver
Published by C.H. Beck (www.beck.de)

Book look: funny journeys, French exercises and Styrian legends

One of Central Europe’s best cartoonists has written a 1quirky book about travelling. In “Rumgurken. Reisen ohne Plan, aber mit Ziel”, Tex Rubinowitz tells from strange encounters and unusual personal experiences abroad. Each chapter in the book by the Vienna-based caricaturist, who was born in the German city of Hanover, is introduced with a philosophical statement, lyrics from a pop song – or a dialogue taken from the legendary animated sitcom “The Simpsons”. “Rumgurken” is full of satirical analyses and amusing anecdotes based on conversations with people in places like Baku, Budapest and Berlin. It also contains a list of people who turned 50 in 2011. Rubinowitz, who is also active as a musician and painter, reached this age that year – and claims in his book that a remarkably high number of melancholic celebrities did so too.

Rumgurken. Reisen ohne Plan, aber mit Ziel
By Tex Rubinowitz
Published by Rowohlt (www.rowohlt.de)

“Großes Übungsbuch Französisch” is the best choice for advanced French learners who are looking for a comprehensive grammar publication. The book features around 3,000 exercises. No relevant grammatical topic is left out. On 230 pages, all important rules of the language are explained. The authors Nicole Laudut and Catherine Patte-Möllmann and publishing house Hueber decided not to illustrate the book. This decision supports determined learners willing to work hard. Forming questions correctly and choosing the appropriate tense are just two of the many subjects featured in “Großes Übungsbuch Französisch”.

Großes Übungsbuch Französisch
By Nicole Laudut and Catherine Patte-Möllmann
Published by Hueber (www.hueber.de)

Witches, giants and various other mysterious creatures appear in the stories Peter Stelzl collected in the past few years. The writer collected ancient legends from the Austrian province of Styria to publish them in a new book. Stelzl searched old documents to garner the stories but also depended on oral lore. In twelve chapters, readers are taken into a world dominated by scary characters. The legends tell from plague-ridden towns, priests, sorcerers – and the devil. The Styria publishing house recently also released a new book by Gabriele Lukacs. “Wien – Geheimnisse einer Stadt” reveals many secrets about the Austrian capital. Secret codes, signs and messages are deciphered by Lukacs who previously wrote a book about the Waldviertel region (“Kraftorte im Waldviertel”).

Sagen aus der Steiermark
By Peter Stelzl
Published by Styria Regional (www.styriabooks.at)

Book look: Wilhelm Kuehs

A Vienna-based publishing house has released a superb collection of legends from a three-border region in the heart of Europe.

“Sagen aus Kärnten, Friaul und Slowenien” by Wilhelm Kuehs contains a large number of legends from the Austrian province of Carinthia, Italy’s Friaul region and Slovenia. The regions used to belong to the Habsburg Empire. Today, various economic and cultural cooperation initiatives are happening between their movers and shakers.1

Kuehs garnered immensely entertaining legends from the area. The stories tell from snake kings, the mysterious creation of a lake, the rock of life, several lindworms and the ride of death. Werewolves and other dangerous creatures appear as well.

Before collecting the rural legends for “Sagen aus Kärnten, Friaul und Slowenien”, Kuehs gained a reputation for writing outstanding novels. In 1999, “Die gläsernen Ringe des Satans” was released. Seven years later, Kuehs presented a collection of Carinthian legends.

His new book is 220 pages strong – and only one of many exciting new releases by Styria. The publishing house’s catalogue also features “New Cage”, a book about the current esotericism hype. Johannes Fischler stresses that Germany’s esotericism sector achieves a turnover of up to 25 billion Euros each year. Because of his undercover investigations, Fischer manages to highlight the various dark sides of the boom.

Edi Finger jr. and his team focused on a totally different topic. The sport journalists’ “Sportchronik 2012” contains the best sport pictures and stories of the past year. Both Austrian and international highlights are mentioned in the book. Finger writes about Bayern Munich star David Alaba and the London Olympics – where Austria failed to win any medals.

Renate Wagner-Wittula’s new book “Wiener Küche” about the best Viennese recipes has been released in English as well (“Viennese Cuisine”).

Sagen aus Kärnten, Friaul und Slowenien
By Wilhelm Kuehs
Published by Styria Regional Carinthia (www.styriabooks.at)