Rebirth of a Diva After success in London, The Bodyguard settles into its new home at the Ronacher Singers die, but their songs live on. At least, that’s the reasoning behind Bodyguard – the Musical, a stage adaptation of the 1992 movie of the same name that launched the career of soul diva Whitney Houston. While the film’s somewhat generic love...
An Old Master Comes to Town The KHM journeys into the quotidian magnificence of Pieter Bruegel the Elder The works of Flemish renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder have an ineffable quality, giving them an allure that has only grown over time. As detailed in The Mill and the Cross by Michael Francis Gibson, the cartographer Abraham Ortel said on his passing...
Schmäh may not be the first thing you notice when you arrive in Vienna. But it comes up soon enough In school, for example: My children were astonished to discover that copying from classmates (“das Abschreiben”) was business as usual – what in America is held up as the depths of dishonor. Here, the attitude was that the fineness required...
Mesmeric Metamusic Composer Olga Neuwirth creates magnificent soundscapes from apparent chaos by Cynthia Peck Following one modernist paradigm in the fine arts – that a painting is nothing more than some colors and shapes – can music be defined merely as some pitches and rhythm? It would be a listless and laughable means to describe the music of Olga Neuwirth, one...
United We Eat If you’re accustomed to the glitz and Old World charm of Vienna’s inner city, stepping out of tram No. 46 on Brunnengasse can transport you to another world: A sea of market stalls opens up in front of you, selling produce for the fairest price in town; the locals going about their shopping seem to be from...
Danse Macabre Visually spectacular, Luca Guadagnino’s reinterpretation of Suspiria is flawed but atmospheric The threshold to womanhood might not be the most obvious theme for your run-of-themill horror story, but Suspiria, a reimagining of Dario Argento’s giallo (pulp) classic of the same name, is far from the usual. Opening at this year’s Viennale before going into general release, it’s steeped in...
Forget Sissi, Schönbrunn and Apfelstrudel: According to the Viennese, their humor is the city’s most remarkable accomplishment. It is a hot summer day on Vienna’s Donauinsel, where an elderly couple is enjoying the sun and paging through an U-Bahn tabloid. “Have you heard?” the wife reads, raising an eyebrow. “Vienna has been ranked again as the world’s most livable city?” “Are...
To Vienna, with Love In Kevin Wignall’s new thriller, Vienna takes the spotlight and steals the show With a name like To Die in Vienna, Kevin Wignall’s new novel might give the impression of being one of those dark, death-obsessed literary discursions set here in the past. But despite the title, this lean thriller actually paints a kinder picture of our...
Anna Seghers’ Morality Play Available in English for the first time, The Seventh Cross addresses the damage and deep divisions of ordinary life under the Nazis Seven political prisoners escape from the (fictional) Westhofen concentration camp in the Rhineland in the opening pages of Anna Seghers’ epic The Seventh Cross. The camp commandant, the old warrior Fahrenberg, “a fool responsible for...
The award-winning restaurant Taubenkobel lures you to its Vienna popup – and with good reason Despite its off-the-beaten-track location in Schützen am Gebirge, Burgenland, Restaurant Taubenkobel is an icon of Austrian gastronomy: serving Pannonian cuisine firmly rooted in the European culinary tradition, chef Alain Weissgerber and his wife, Barbara Eselböck, have received numerous accolades by celebrating their region with fresh...
Some people say that when you begin dreaming in a foreign language you have mastered it. That may be, but I say, it’s when you begin telling jokes that you’ve truly arrived. That’s humor fluency! I’m not sure what my first Viennese joke was, or even if it was funny. Most likely it was an emphatic “Heast, Depperter” or...
A thousand women are challenging the boys’ club of science by making a research expedition to Antarctica to raise awareness for climate change. Antarctica is a giant, untamed wilderness. Home of the geographic South Pole, it has no nations and no indigenous population. The continent is almost entirely covered by ice, with an average depth of 2.16 kilometers. Although this...
With the Neue Mittelschule, reformers tried one-size-fits-all – with dismal results. Education Minister Heinz Faßmann’s pragmatic approach deserves a chance As I listen to the latest round of policy boxing over the new Pädagogik-Paket (Teaching Package), my heart sinks. It’s a debate I’ve heard before in another time and place, one where a world of well-meaning people destroyed for a...
The outcome may indicate how the dialectic between supranationalism and nationalism will play out in much of the rest of the world. The United Kingdom’s “Remainers,” who still hope to reverse Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, have placarded British cities with a simple question: “Brexit – Is It Worth It?” Well, is it? The answer given by economics is...
Honu serves fresh, healthy Hawaiian-inspired bowls with regional ingredients Only open since June, Vienna’s first Hawaiian bistro, Honu Tiki Bowls, already has a reputation for long waiting lines. “I didn’t even think that people here were so hungry for something new,” notes 30-year-old Viennese native and owner Kaspar Kunz, a graduate of Vienna’s Tourism College Modul. He was inspired by...
The Austrian chancellor as a mixture of Hitler and Mozart on the cover of Newsweek. Please relax! Leni Riefenstahl, the director and scriptwriter of Nazi art and moviemaking, must have been hired as picture editor at the US magazine Newsweek. Austria’s federal chancellor was pictured on the cover of the once globally relevant magazine with the beautiful headline “Austria Rising.” The...
What is it like to have fear of heights in a mountainous country? Austrians have absolutely no understanding for this. So how to get over it? By sucking it up and skiing, and falling, and skiing, and falling, and skiing again until I didn’t fall I’ll never forget my first time on an Alpine lift, in Kitzbuhel. Halfway up, I...
Poland wants to sit at Europe’s big table, but Poles have learned to be critical, ironic and contrarian, in defiance of politics. After turning his interest toward Central Europe in the 1980s, the late Tony Judt decided to learn Czech. Why not Polish? Judt, one of the most thought-provoking historians of the 20th century, responded that he felt more affinity...
Through history’s adversity, the Polish have shown enormous resilience. Free and thriving today, their country is trying to find its place in the world. A century ago, Poland was so poor that the government decided to build a ship-port in Gdynia in order to help their people emigrate across the Atlantic. Until recently, “Polaks” were still the synonym of poor...
As the annual Vienna Art Week rolls in again, the city fills to the brim with artists, with hundreds from around the world dropping by to open an exhibit, give a talk, or present their latest works. With almost 200 events, there are plenty of occasions to meet the creators and enjoy different performances, films and tours, hosted by...
Austria’s comedy scene gets some international flair as English language stand-up grows in Vienna Downstairs, the room is cozy but packed, the bare brick walls bathed in warm, yellow light. Excited chatter comes from an array of mismatched seats as friendly faces squeeze in together like a few too many guests at a generous dinner party; it’s tight, but that’s...
Honu serves fresh, healthy Hawaiian-inspired bowls with regional ingredients Only open since June, Vienna’s first Hawaiian bistro, Honu Tiki Bowls, already has a reputation for long waiting lines. “I didn’t even think that people here were so hungry for something new,” notes 30-year-old Viennese native and owner Kaspar Kunz, a graduate of Vienna’s Tourism College Modul. He was inspired by...
Two years after the first Black Protest, a new wave of Polish feminism gathers steam, raising awareness not only about abortion rights, but empowering women in all aspects of their lives. Seen from the outside, the protests may seem in vain. After two years of organizing and demonstrating, of speeches, articles and internet campaigns, and thousands of Polish women young...
“Wiener Schmäh is maudlin, weepy, self-pitying, but also nostalgic, wistful, gemütlich and comforting.” If you really want to know what Wiener Schmäh is, ask a German. So say the Viennese cabaret duo, Gebruder Moped (Franz Stanzl and Martin Strecha-Derkics). For them, Wiener Schmäh sometimes seems more important to those who are not from here – i.e. “net von doah!” “The moment...
The Lürzer Alm redefines the popular ski resort Obertauern. Just 3 hours and 38 minutes away from the heart of Vienna, the snow-covered peaks of Obertauern hold a special place in the hearts and minds of Austrians. Coming to prominence in the 1960s as a location in the Beatles movie Help!, it has long been one of the most popular...
With more women getting involved in combat sports, we visited one of Vienna’s all-women gyms. The only man in the room has no arms, legs, hands, feet or hair. Going by the name of Bob, every day this pitiful creature gets beaten and punched by women. Bob doesn’t complain, scream out in agony or resist. That’s because Bob is a...
“Wiener Schmäh is saying Schlagerl (mini-stroke) instead of Schlaganfall (stroke). It’s a way of being obsessed with death without ever talking about it.” Hannes Duscher and Roland Gratzer host an evening show on radio FM4 called Vorglühen (Preparty Buzz). For those tuning in for the first time, it’s surprising to hear them bantering in a fairly unrestrained form of dialect...