On Tuesday I conducted another interview for my research project. This time, I spoke with Zsuzsi Flohr, a Jewish artist from Budapest currently living, working, and studying in Vienna. Her perspective and evaluations of the Jewish communities of Vienna and Budapest were particularly fascinating to me, since they are quite different in both number and nature. Hungary is right next door to Austria, yet the Holocaust doesn't seem to have affected its Jews the way it did Austria's and other European countries. Additionally, Zsuzsi's thoughts and works about the intersections of self-identifying as Jewish and accepting that identity and all that it consists of, both in terms of solidarity and exterior perceptions, is extremely important for the kind of questions I'm looking to answer. I have two more interviews scheduled this coming week--time to get some Roma perspectives for the Roma part of my investigation. Those should be some great conversations, so I'll be writing about them in next week's post.
One of Zsuzsi's projects, which you can read about here.
Wednesday was actually a pretty new experience for me: I went to the movie theater for a 6:30 am showing of Certain Women, a new film by Kelly Reichardt starring Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart. It was the last day of the Vienna Film Festival, and it was extremely surreal being given free pastries to eat during what the theater called a "Frühstücksfilm" (froo-shtooks-film), or "breakfast film." I've reviewed the movie for a site and that should be coming out shortly, but I did really like the movie--it was very quiet and powerful and focused on women's stories, which is quite rare in Hollywood. Still, I would not recommend going to the movies at 6:30 am, because that is too early for me to wake up most mornings, let alone be dressed and presentable for the public...
Thursday was pretty low-key, with only my university course in the evening to really give me a reason to leave the house. Friday was similarly relaxed, although I did spend some time in a really cool coffee shop in Vienna's sixth district called "phil", which has quite a lot of books and records and CDs for sale. I actually brought my own book, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, and enjoyed some tea while finishing it up. A Little Life was quite good, albeit depressing in a literary sort of way, but it's the sort of book I always want to find more of with female protagonists rather than male ones. I've heard A Little Life compared to Mary McCarthy's The Group, the latter of which was new to me, so I might try to hunt that one down. So that's two books I've read for pleasure since I got to Vienna: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, and A Little Life. Fates and Furies was also a good read, but the prose veered on too purely abstract and sensory for me at times when maybe a little more literal description would have sufficed. I'm currently also starting My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, because after all the hullabuloo about these books, I figured I'd at least pick up the first one. If any of you have suggestions for more books with female protagonists and female friendships that maybe aren't entirely tragic all the time, I'd love to hear them!
I'm definitely coming back here, but they really don't seem cool with people just sitting around and not buying things... I guess that's to be expected.
Although people did look at me funny for taking these photos...
Saturday was also not very eventful--until I got a last-minute free ticket to see Twelfth Night at Vienna's English Theater in the eight district. I've read the play, but had never seen it, and I wasn't going to pass up a free ticket to a Shakespeare comedy! Ultimately, the performance was good and competent, but not really creative. It was very one-note emotionally and tonally, which, in a comedy, translates to lots of outbursts, mugging for the audience, and running around chasing one another, but it was just too high-energy all the time and didn't balance that aspect with enough subtle moments. The theater is apparently putting on Rent in the spring, which seems pretty interesting, since I'm not sure if Rent is super popular in Austria--or really, outside of the United States. I'm not the biggest-ever fan of Rent, but if it gets good reviews and the tickets are inexpensive, I might decide to see it.
All the world's a stage, including this stage here.
The ceiling is quite pretty!
But aren't lovely shoes the same as happiness?
I just thought this slogan was funny.
This sign says: "41st Austrian Dentist Congress," which I was not invited to.
I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS or something. I haven't ever seen this show.
(Weiss is the German for "white")
I'm pretty sure it's TJ Maxx back home?
Bonus from the elevator to Zagreb 360... good advice, I guess?