Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 241: Pulling a Johann Strauss at the Beautiful Blue Danube

Hello readers! I'm back with many photos and not so much news. Clearly the boom-bust cycle of the Deborah Krieger News is a weekly one.

The main event of the past week was the USTA going-away party, which was held at a pub-restaurant in the 16th district called a Heuriger (hoy-ree-gurr). As a Fulbrighter, I have a little over a month left in the country, but the people who are only teaching assistants leave at the end of May. Still, though, many of the Fulbright combined grantees went if only to spend a little time with the American teaching assistants before they left and to get our very official certificates of completion from the Austrian Educational Ministry. I had not gotten the memo that people would be wearing dirndls (deern-dull), or those traditional Austrian dresses that people wear when singing about lonely goatherds and the like, so I came in a normal dress. I also haven't bought a dirndl and I'm not sure if I will--they seem a little expensive, and I'm fairly certain my Austrian ancestors wouldn't have been permitted to wear them back in the day, so buying one feels a little weird to me. Still, some of them have very pretty patterns, and I figure I can always wear my dirndl back in go grocery shopping, or something? Where does one wear a dirndl in Los Angeles, California?
Very cute restaurant and the grape juice (and wine) was free! 
Here I am, all certified and honored for my incredible teaching.
Last week, my teaching was pretty unremarkable aside from the baseball lesson I prepared and taught several times. Yep, you read that right: I prepared a primer on American baseball for my first-year students (14-15 years old), where I provided them with a basic written and verbal summary of the rules, talked about such classic baseball movies as Moneyball and A League of Their Own, told them about Jackie Robinson, and then showed them a clip of funny baseball bloopers. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really the sportiest of people, but I realized at Swarthmore that I probably have fairly decent average knowledge through osmosis, since my family loves sports with enthusiasm bordering on mania. I cannot count the number of times my mother screaming at her football team has given me mini heart palpitations, because I thought she was screaming because something was actually wrong, like she'd dropped glass or something. Baseball I am actually pretty familiar with, since I have seen a bunch of games and baseball movies, so I was able to explain the basic rules without having to do a lot of preparation. Below, a photo of the diagrams I drew on the chalkboard for my students, where I explain basic "moneyball," the layout of a baseball diamond, the significance of Jackie's number 42, and why it's called the "pitcher's mound."
I'd like to see my brother teach a lesson on ballet or the Renaissance now. THE GAUNTLET HAS BEEN THROWN, KRIEGER!
On Saturday, I ducked into an arts and crafts fair on Neubaugasse (noy-bow-gah-suh), then headed over to the Burgtheater (bourg-tay-ah-tur) for a lecture by the artist William Kentridge. I was actually really excited for the lecture, because my favorite piece at the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles was actually an animation video by Kentridge, which I've embedded below. I just really liked how he used the sketchy quality of drawing in the transitions, and so more than the Hirst or Koons, this work at the Broad really has stuck with me since I saw it in March 2016. The lecture was pretty entertaining, and was about his process of creating and coming up with concepts, featuring several recent videos he's done.
The Burgtheater is very fancy and ornate and classically Austrian.
A brief shot of the crafts fair, where I did not buy anything (but I did consider getting one of those dirndls).
During the week I also went to visit the Donauinsel (doh-now-in-zul) for the first time. The Donauinsel is basically a little island in the Danube river where people can frolic and play (or jog, or bike, or swim), and it's easily accessible by the U1. A bunch of Fulbrighters and British teaching assistants went to have a picnic, since one of my roommates is actually going home this month to start an internship program back in the states. Being at the Donauinsel on a beautiful sunny day was one of those moments where Vienna didn't feel quite real, and where I almost felt an irrational anger at having to leave it so soon. It's a city that's clean, easy to navigate, well-maintained, and cared-for in terms of infrastructure, and so thinking about the myriad problems of livability when it comes to cities I love in the US makes me wonder why we can't care for our cities on an institutional like the Austrians do for Vienna.
The train lets you off on this bridge, and I went the wrong way the first time to get to the island proper.
On a nerdy note: the Donauinsel is right by the UN building, so I went to check it out because it was used in Captain America: Civil War (for the record, Team Tony even though I love Cap and Falcon).
Lastly, this past weekend I went back to the Brotfabrik to review a photography show for the Humble Arts Foundation's blog, so that should be published fairly soon. I always love going to the Brotfabrik, and having a mission in mind made walking the several miles there all the easier, though I did cheat and take the train back home. 
It was a really great show--about cults and esoteric groups and pseudoscientific rituals!
On the writing front, I've had a lot of pieces in the pipeline for a few days now, so keep an eye on the published section of my main site: I wrote about Sense8's second season premiere and Riverdale's finale for PopMatters and the movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging for BitchFlicks (which have been published already), and I have an artist profile, a writeup on gaucho pants (not kidding), and several book reviews also waiting to be published for various outlets. Exciting times!

Miscellany of the week:
  • I always love it when the Vienna public housing buildings have mosaics and murals on them--I wish I could document each one!
Spotted in the 16th.
Spotted in the 16th again!
Love me some bas-reliefs...also in the 16th.
I think this one's in the 10th. I took it on the way to the Brotfabrik...
  • This one very modern clothes shop near Treu Bleiben, my weekend brunch spot, had this on the floor. I'm not quite sure what it means, but it's probably art.
The people in the store were just going about business as usual...

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