Hello lovely readers! This week was pretty laid-back, but with lots of art thrown in! (Contain your shock.) The weather is turning colder, but not anything Swarthmore winters didn't prepare me for.
Were you, dear reader, prepared for my sweet bowling attire? I think not.
On Monday, I pulled double art duty: in the afternoon, I interviewed an artist from the anonymous Jewish street art group, the "Yiddish Resistance 3.0," and then made my way to the Austrian Film Museum to catch the first night of its Ruth Beckermann retrospective. The interview was very interesting, but, sadly, I failed to record the conversation properly. It happens to the best of us, apparently, but the artist was very nice about it and is happy to continue to work with me. Ruth Beckermann, a Jewish documentarian based in Vienna, is another artist with whom I'm working on scheduling an interview. The opening film screening was of The Paper Bridge, which was extremely beautiful to watch but lacked subtitles in English or German, so some of the interviews with people speaking in dialects were a bit hard to follow.
Taken on my way to the Film Museum: this is the opera house, which is very old and fancy (naturally).
On Tuesday, I made my way to the Künstlerhaus at its temporary location in the fifth district, since the main one in the first is undergoing renovations. The Künstlerhaus is a private artists' organization (which reminded me of a lot of the collectives in the 319 building in Philly again). The show I went to see, which I reviewed and should be linked to on my main site within the month, was called romANTIsch? and combined aspects of Romanticism with more contemporary aesthetics and techniques, which was, overall, pretty ingeniously done.
Lots of different artists and choices of medium!
The lighting in the gallery made it a little tricky to take pictures for my review, though...
It is a really great space, and I wish I'd had another hour or so to take it all in.
Wednesday was not quite as exciting as the previous two days. On Thursday, however, I decided to catch an opening night screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the local English-language movie theater, and I'm very glad I did! The movie was messy, rough, and at the opposite end of the spectrum from the much safer The Force Awakens, and it made some really bold choices (which I will not spoil, of course) that ultimately made me enjoy it more than The Force Awakens. I think Rogue One's being a stand-alone story (and ultimately, kind of working in the vein of fanfiction in how it fills in the narrative gaps between episodes III and IV) gave the filmmakers the opportunity to "take chances, get messy, make mistakes!" (in the immortal words of Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus).
The excitement was palpable... as was my annoyance when the guy in front of my took a photo of the opening credits on his phone.
This is the second opening-night screening I attended in 2016, the first being Captain America: Civil War. The key, in my mind, is to not have these premieres take place at midnight, but rather at a more reasonable hour, like 9:30 pm.
On Friday I had the opportunity to show off my (nonexistent) filmmaking skills during my workday at the Graphische: in a double period, the kids were split into two groups and they took turns working with me to write and film a commercial. The first group advertised chocolate, while the second advertised a potato. I am still not sure why anyone in the second group was just carrying around a raw potato, but that's art school for ya! It was pretty fun, and kind of surreal being able to film and edit everything on my phone, because technology is weird and amazing. Later, on Friday afternoon, I conducted an interview with the Roma filmmaker Saša Barbul. Lastly, on Friday night, some Fulbrighters and British Council teaching assistants went bowling, which I had not done since probably eighth or ninth grade. I am not very good at bowling, and I am especially not good at bowling with no guardrails.
This was probably the most "American" thing I've done while here.
Having classics like "Summer of '69" and "Born to be Wild" playing as I attempted to bowl also added to the Americanity of it all.
Stray thoughts of the week:
- Check out my main site for my favorite things of 2016, because when in Austria, why not compile a list of one's favorite things? (Insert groans here.)
- The dentist? Totally not scary, but scarily expensive because apparently dental insurance is not super common here.
- Vienna apparently loves the jukebox musical. Like, more than I anticipated anyone having the ability to love jukebox musicals. I mean, Movin' Out was great (if not totally within the musical genre) but I didn't know people were clamoring for a musical about Falco or Elvis. While walking along one major street on two separate occasions, I spotted at least four advertisements for musicals about famous musical acts, which I have included below for your viewing pleasure.
O, o, o AMADEUS (the only Falco song I know)
Apparently Mamma Mia was not enough for the ABBA fans...
Ditto with Across the Universe...
Is there already an Elvis musical? Or is this the first?