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Respect the Bean: Coffee as a State of Being

Respect the Bean: Coffee as a State of Being

On the quiet corner of Hahngasse and Pramergasse in Vienna’s 9th District, an aroma of freshly-ground coffee floats out each time a visitor opens the doors. A new coffee shop? Well, not exactly, at least not by Viennese standards. This is the Vienna School of Coffee, an offbeat, a one of a kind coffee manufacturer […]

Paul Gulda: Improvising A Life of Art And Activism

Paul Gulda: Improvising A Life of Art And Activism

The asylum law protesters had been camped out at the Votivkirche for a couple of weeks when pianist Paul Gulda visited them for the first time in mid January. He had been asked to contribute a message of solidarity for their website. But as he read more about the occupation, he decided he needed to […]

Read My Body: The Language of Touch

Read My Body: The Language of Touch

In the far corner of a whitewashed studio, a young man kneels, offering a shoulder to his partner. She drapes herself over his shoulder and he effortlessly lifts her into the air, one hand at her waist. As they spin, she leans against him and he rotates her until she is cradled in his arms. […]

Freud and Almodovar at the French Institute

Freud and Almodovar at the French Institute

The French often talk about thought as if it were a contagious disease – like my one-time literature professor, who would say, “Il y a des idées dans l’air!” There are ideas in the air! And so it seemed at the conference “Art and the Body – How Hysteria is Viewed in the 21st Century” […]

Servitenviertel – Backstreets for Émigrés

Servitenviertel – Backstreets for Émigrés

From the U-Bahn at Schottentor and onwards up Liechtensteinstraße, Vienna begins to change. Away from the busy intersection, it is suddenly peaceful, except for the muffled footsteps of passers-by and the distant hum of the cars from the Ring. This is the Servitenviertel – lying between the Währinger Straße to the south, Roßauer Lände to […]

The Emperor, the Tailor and The Church of Deliverance

The Emperor, the Tailor and The Church of Deliverance

When strolling around Schottentor, tourists will often exclaim: “Look! There’s the Stephansdom.” They are lost, of course, mistaking the Votivkirche on Rooseveltplatz for the city’s mighty Gothic cathedral nearly synonymous with the city itself. But the error is forgivable since the magnificent neo-Gothic Votivkirche resembles the far older one in many ways and has its […]

Let’s Go There Instead

Let’s Go There Instead

Snippets of German, English, and French float in between bouts of hearty laughter where a small group of Malian refugees gather around wooden tables. Under a massive clock hanging from the courtyard wall, women chatter enthusiastically in Spanish. The Statt-Beisl in the WUK caters easily to the motley ebb and flow of locals: This is […]

Kids Are Always on Stage

Kids Are Always on Stage

A quarry, Hainfeld, Lower Austria, early ‘90s. Among groups of hikers, a woman is out walking with her two young nephews. Suddenly they stop; there is deathly silence. Inspriation strikes! And in seconds, the scene becomes a battleground, animals charging every which way, their every move being followed by “King Francis” and his royal entourage, […]

The Danube Canal: Vienna’s Riviera

At night, the Marienbrücke’s concrete face is cast in an ultra-marine light. Symbolising “Mary’s cloak”, the illumined bridge seems intent on transcending its own post-war design for a shimmering, post-modern future. Crossing the Danube Canal, it leads to an emerging cluster of high rises on the Leopoldstadt embankment. There, swirling colours burst from the glass-box […]

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