Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Culture in the village - Kulturhammer

In the club "Kulturhammer" people have gathered whom the advancement of culture - just in the village - is close to their hearts.
Besides the fun to "make" culture with own productions, a stage is given to all kind of talents.
The spectrum of the program reaches from down-to-earth to cabaret, from music to dance and even to classical music.
Amateurs also get the chance besides professional artists.

The club wants to reach a wide range of audience and wants to contribute
that "village" becomes a cultural meeting place again.

I am a member of the club and I have seen many outstanding performances there. I will always remember:

The performances take place in a beautiful little hall the "Tanzsaal" in the little village Kaiserhammer. Gorgeously renovated by the family Tietz who also have their appartement above the hall. They have a production and shop of bee products as well like candles, candies: The Bienenschwarm.
You can also find them on the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar for Germany: The Lives of Others

German moviemaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has won an Academy Award with his Stasi drama "Das Leben der Anderen ("The Lives of Others").
After innumerous national and international awards (e.g. Deutscher Filmpreis (German film award), Europäischer Filmpreis (European film award)) the movie won the most important award of the international movie branch in the category "Foreign Language Film" last night.

Favourite of the bookmakers has been Pan's Labyrinth, a Mexican fantasy film before. But like many times before the Academy was good for a surprise and elected an outsider.

That's what director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck had to say:

"Oh my God! I was already crying after Tornatore's film. I thank you Academy members from the bottom of my heart for this honor. And I thank Michael and Tom from Sony Classics for choosing The Lives of Others and bringing it to you. I thank Germany and Bavaria for making this film possible. My great department heads for making this film with me.
Schwarzenegger for teaching me that the words "I can't" should be stricken from my vocabulary. And my entire crew. I thank my producers, commissioning editors, distributors, financiers. I thank my brother Sebastian for helping with this script and for "Baumba" for believing in me. But most of all I thank my actors, especially Ulrich and Sebastian, you're the greatest artists and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Finally, my wife Christiane. No, I have to say that one more thing. Just that one more thing: Christiane, I love you."

It is the third German movie to win an Oscar after:

The Tin Drum (1979)
Nowhere in Africa (2002)


In East Berlin in 1984, the secret police organization, Stasi, conducts extensive surveillance operations against any East German citizen suspected of opposing the Communist regime.
When Captain Gerd Weisler (Ulrich Mühe) begins monitoring the daily life of the playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and his girlfriend the theater star Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), he finds himself increasingly unwilling to betray his subject's private moments to his superiors.
A dangerous game begins, which will tear the love of Dreyman and Sieland to pieces and destroy Weisler's previous existence. Until the wall falls all of them have to pay a high price. Then a new world starts again.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Modern physiologies - The boxer

When Sylvester Stallone bravely decided to grace us with a final chapter to his career-defining Rocky saga, he knew three big things from the get-go: the enterprise was going to have to survive a tsunami of cynicism from critics and Rocky fans alike; he would be unable to pretend to be in the fighting shape he was in the 1976 original; and calling the film Rocky VI would have spelt instant death.

For the film to work it had to have a life of its own, and to his great credit Stallone has accomplished that with consummate, subtle skill. Without awkward narrative lurches or clumsy spurts of character exposition he masterfully reconciles the audience expectations that accompany a successful movie franchise with something genuinely fresh.

In raising Rocky from the ashes of sequel-itis and into the harsh glow of the present, Stallone has done himself, and us, a great favour by injecting the last leg of the Rocky story with a big dose of social realism.

Rocky is much the same as he has always been - a big, lovable, self-deprecating lunkhead who likes a good joke. The difference now, of course, is that his legend has soaked deep into the culture of his town.
He is a man in a state of acceptance. He has no tickets on himself, runs a small, successful restaurant and happily lives off his former glory. People still love him, want his autograph and a picture with his fist on their chin. He seems content.

It's a mythos old as the hills, that the film "Rocky Balboa" puts on the stage anew - you remember that all the great super heroes like Superman and Batman appear strangely aged in their comebacks and if you can trust the preliminary reports it will be the same with the upcoming Spiderman.

Stallone turned 60 last year but the society seems to have aged much more than people who live in it.
You live backward, his brother-in-law Paulie accuses Rocky when they visit the old skating rink, where Rocky and Adrian found their luck - it's torn down at the moment.
In the revolt of the old man anger and protest become manifest against the tilt of the Bush society, the economic desaster, the social misery, the coolness of the government against people, the hollowness of patriotic phrases and political discussion.
When he speaks pro America then for the land of the exploited and underdogs, against the establishment. A debris movie, the mixture of decayed , torched, funny-colored renovated houses signal the unenlivened society, their permanent instability.

Rocky has retrieved deeply to an inner retirement in this society. With his hat he seems to be an existentialist vagabond of the Fifties, between Becket and Fellini, a Vladimir and Zampano. The fighter as practising autist.

But something still works in this body that has to come out. It can not be put in words, when Rocky tries to explain it mumbling.
With a deep patience he attends to his duty as national legend, photos with the fans and telling the old fight stories again and again with tired gestures.
Training and fight real phantasy? "Nothings hits harder than life", murmurs Rocky. "The question is not how hard you can hit but about how hard you can get hit".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My fine is $ 431.50

You should try out this game. I have found it today. I don't know if my fine is worth to mention.

Here’s how it works: You don’t have to confess your answers, just the amount of your fine. (Not per incident!) Tally up your score and post it on your blog with the title… ”My Fine Is…

”Smoked pot — $10
Did acid — $5
Ever had sex at church — $25
Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you — $40
Had sex with someone on MySpace — $25
Had sex for money — $100
Vandalized something — $20
Had sex on your parents’ bed — $10
Beat up someone — $20
Been jumped — $10
Crossed dressed — $10
Given money to stripper — $25
Been in love with a stripper — $20Kissed some one who’s name you didn’t know — $0.10
Hit on some one of the same sex while at work — $15
Ever drive drunk — $20
Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk — $50
Used toys while having sex — $30
Got drunk, passed out and don’t remember the night before — $20
Went skinny dipping — $5
Had sex in a pool — $20
Kissed someone of the same sex — $10
Had sex with someone of the same sex — $20
Cheated on your significant other — $10
Masturbated — $10
Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend — $20
Done oral — $5
Got oral — $5
Done/got oral in a car while it was moving — $25
Stole something — $10
Had sex with someone in jail — $25
Made a nasty home video — $15
Had a threesome — $50
Had sex in the wild — $20
Been in the same room while someone was having sex — $25
Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars — $20
Had sex with someone 10 years older — $20
Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 — $25
Been in love with two people or more at the same time — $50
Said you love someone but didn’t mean it — $25
Went streaking — $5
Went streaking in broad daylight — $15
Been arrested — $5
Spent time in jail — $15
Peed in the pool — $0.50
Played spin the bottle — $5
Done something you regret — $20
Had sex with your best friend — $20
Had sex with someone you work with at work — $25
Had anal sex — $80
Lied to your mate — $5
Lied to your mate about the sex being good — $25

Interesting, how the fines are spread.

I believe I can fly - Dirk Nowitzki for MVP 2007

Dirk Nowitzki leads the Race to the MVP 2007. He has been third for two years in a row. This years he is hopefully going to win.

This season he is leading his Dallas Mavericks to the - by far - best results in the NBA. 44 games won and 9 lost! The next best team the Phoenix Suns has won 39 games and lost 12.

He is leader in efficiency per 48 minutes, a ranking that takes into account all important statistical data like points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals etc.

On Thursday the Mavericks will host the Miami Heat, their opponent in the Finals 2006. There has been a lot of rumour in the press about bad words between Dirk and Dwyane Wade of the Heat. Wade is cited with the words that Dirk is no leader that he pretends to be. Dirk wants to give the answer on the playing ground. You should dress warm on Thursday Dwyane, maybe some extra underwear?

More coverage on Friday.

Monday, February 19, 2007

De Zuch kütt

Right now the Rosenmontagszug in Cologne is on its way. It is the parade on Rose Monday. No doubt the highlight of street carnival. With over 10.000 participants, one third of them female, 440 horses, 97 floats and 123 bands (numbers of 2006).

The 2007 motto: Cologne is all of us (Mir all sin Kölle)!

It takes place since 1823 with changing mottos every year. The motto is like a thread for the parade. Popular and up to date topics of politics, sports, economy but also society and urban life are skitted.
Indispensable are the traditional corps and carnival societies taking part with pedestrian groups, horsemen, coaches and most important: floats.

The highlight of the parade is when in the end the Prinz (prince), Bauer (farmer) and Jungfrau (maiden) are cheering to the clownish people and are throwing caramel candies and bunches of flowers.

More than 1 million people are gathering in the streets to watch the parade.

Hello to Cologne. I'm sad that I had to leave it again. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Love to travel - Viva Barcelona

I don't know why but I had to think of Barcelona yesterday. This happens from time to time and this can bring me to tears sometimes.
Barcelona is still my favourite city and sometimes I get the feeling I have to go there again soon.
When I hear the song "Barcelona" of Freddie Mercury it gives me goose bumps. He and Montserrat Caballé are singing the song of the Olympic Games 1992 in Barcelona.
Yesterday an (annoying by the way) guy behind me was talking about Barcelona when we had to wait in front of a pub. Then the remembrance hit me like a lightning.
I had such a good time there, when I have been there to learn Spanish. I spent altogether about 7 weeks there and I loved it so much. I loved the air, the people, the culture, the sun, the sea, the language, everything.
If you are willing to have a good time, meet people and learn Spanish (or at least Catalan) you should take the occasion and go there.
Visit the famous sites of Gaudi like Park Güell, Casa Milà and Sagrada Familia for some things.
Go to the Ramblas to see vibrating life and walk down to the harbour where Christopher Columbus watches over the city.
See the famous museums of Picasso and Joan Miro.
And never never forget to go to the Barri Gòtic the most beautiful part of the town. And old part where you can still breath history besides all the new and fast changing modern architecture.
Viva Barcelona!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Carnival in Cologne

I'm in Cologne to visit my dear sister Katharina and to celebrate Carnival. I'm here for the 9th time to do this.
I started in Düsseldorf in 1998, I shouldn't say this too loud here. The people of Cologne and Düsseldorf do not like each other....it's like Nuremberg and Fürth in my home region.
I like Carnival as a special time in the year. I'm here to forget all the sorrows and problems of everyday life. I'm dunking into this artificical but funny kind of Carnival life.
Your are disguised, you have to be disguised here. I'm a Cowboy this year. A living fades mythos. That feels good.
I have been a hippie for years but that kind of bored me now. Although I like this costume. It reminded me of a very nice Hippie Flower Power Party we had at home in 2004. Tina was pregnant and nobody knew before. But she didn't drink all evening and so the brilliant disguise leaked out......
Yesterday was Weiberfastnacht, the main day of the Cologne (and everywhere in the Carnival regions of Germany) Carnival. It stars on 11.11 a.m and ends well nobody knows.
I'm feeling good today, no hangover. Thanks to some water besides Kölsch, the local beer. A terrible head ache beer regularly. Also the taste is okay, well you cannot compare it to Franconian beer. Sorry Cologne.
Today I'm going to a thermea. Must be a remnant of the ancient Romans, they have quite a lot here. But this is absolutely relaxing and balm for the soul. I recommend the Neptun bath.

Bye bye and come to Cologne! It's worth a try not only at Carnival

Monday, February 12, 2007

Observations from the Berlinade Festival

Discussing her work in Robert de Niro's new film "The Good Shepherd", premiering at the Berlinale this week, actress Martina Gedeck comes over all philosophical: "I always get obsessed with the dissolution of space and time on set. In a day of filming we'll accomplish one, maybe two minutes of film, and in the evening you have the feeling of only having lived one or two minutes.
You are always playing with time, starting again from the beginning, repeating what's in the past. Time dissolves. Added to which, you are working in an environment where the past has been reconstructed right down to the smallest detail, where one new reality exists next to the other."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Faded myths - Dieter Waltke vs. Famous Germans - Heiner Brand

Germany has become World Champion in handball yesterday. History repeating after 29 (!) years.
In 1978 Germany won the final game against Russia with Heiner Brand as a player, now he is the coach for already 10 years.
The World Championship 2007 took place in Germany. Even with the home field advantage there were only few happy omens. The team had to suffer from a lot of injuries in the run-up to the games.
Only few people were courageous enough to talk about a title.

Heiner Brand

The coach promised nothing. Many people expected him to promise the championship. He was clever enough not to do so. He preferred to work painstakinly. He knew about the strength of his players and the weaknesses of the opponent teams.
He knew how to form a team with the available players. Maybe other teams had better single players but Germany was "la Mannschaft" ("la Team"). When the going got tough, the tough got going.
Germany lost only one game in the preliminary round against Poland.
Against the team they beat in the final game!
Heiner Brand produced new stars by magic. In the first row Michael Kraus who was elected in the All Star team whom hardly anybody in the public knew before. And also Henning Fritz the goal keeper who regained his shape after hard times in the German Bundesliga where he was only the third keeper of THW Kiel for a certain time.
Heiner Brand is also famous for his mustache. His players wore artificial mustaches like his after the game yesterday.

Dieter Waltke

I read his story today and it was the story of the final game 1978. Dieter Waltke hadn't played a single minute in the whole tournament before the final game. He didn't play in the final game before the coach Vlado Stenzel replaced Arno Ehret for tactical instructions.
Dieter Waltke came, saw and conquered. He threw three goals in a row and led the German team to the winning road in a difficult situation. But he was replaced again after a few minutes and never played again till the end. Nobody understood.........
Dieter Waltke nowadays believes that Vlado Stenzel had not realized his performance at all because he talked to Arno Ehret. The secret will never be never be unravelled.

For Dirk Fans like me