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Relearning Excellence

Relearning Excellence

Time was when the Vienna school system was among the most respected in Europe: Its Gymnasien prepared pupils for its universities and its Realschulen for technical or trade schools. It was elite and selective, and very good, with results to show for it. “The central Gymnasien account for most of the major figures in Vienna’s […]

An Urban Festwochen Experience

An Urban Festwochen Experience

It was noon as I entered the ticket office of the Wiener Festwochen in Lehàrgasse 3a: The place was empty, and the guard was playing chess against himself. The festival had just begun, and I left laden with flyers and booklets. Since 1951, the Vienna festival courts natives and tourists, artists, amateurs and passionates, who […]

Elfriede Jelinek Adapts Wilde’s An Ideal Husband

Elfriede Jelinek Adapts Wilde’s An Ideal Husband

If it is true that Oscar Wilde’s last words were “Either this wallpaper goes or I do,” Bettina Meyer’s nifty, luxurious set for the Akademietheater production of his An Ideal Husband is quite the coup de grace. (Poor Wilde, done in by indefatigable damask!) The walls are crawling with four distinct floral patterns in hothouse […]

How Silver Screen Vienna Forgot Where it all Began

How Silver Screen Vienna Forgot Where it all Began

Austrian cinema is best known internationally for the directors, rather, than the films, it has fostered. Men like Alexander Korda, Michael Curtiz, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder all hailed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire – but politics meant they found fame elsewhere. Despite this, and a decidedly checkered history, Vienna’s historic Rosenhügel film studios are still […]

The Revolution Will Be Televised

The Revolution Will Be Televised

It was perhaps the Austrian broadcasting corporation’s (ORF) biggest hit: Launched before Christmas, the reality TV show “Who Wants To Be A Media Exec?” kept audiences in Austria – and even Germany – under a spell until 18 Jan., when their favourite candidate, the dashing and dastardly Nikolaus Pelinka, quit the show saying he no longer tolerated […]

Book Review: Meine Neun Leben (My Nine Lives), by Martin Katz

The Nine Lives of Martin Katz “A few months ago I turned 91,” wrote Martin Katz, “and I think that I don’t have an endless amount of time to report to the generation of my grandchildren about the miracle that I’ve experienced: I have survived.” His memoir, Meine Neun Leben (My Nine Lives) was published […]

Literary Events: Apr., 2011

A NIGHT OF HEBREW WORD An outspoken peace activist and supporter of the Palestinian cause, leading Israeli novelist David Grossman will present his work at the Viennese Burgtheater, mid-April. The selected lines will be read in Hebrew, followed by Austrian actress Elisabeth Orth’s German translation. Grossman’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages, […]

Book Review: Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul

Istanbul: Between West and East In his foreword to Ara Güler’s Istanbul, the 2009 retrospective of the great Turkish photographer, author and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk pays a distinct tribute to Güler’s richly textured black-and-white images by acknowledging how “through these photographs, I learned to look at Istanbul and recognize its essence.” Pamuk encountered the […]

Tradition Under Threat

It is early Sunday afternoon, Oct. 31 at the Café Wortner in the 4th district, one of Vienna’s most appealing traditional cafes, recently voted “Best Kaffeehaus in Vienna” by the Chamber of Commerce (WKO) earlier this year. Partly it’s the setting, set back behind a fountain in a small triangular pocket park on the Wiedner […]

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