Archive for the ‘Touristy’ Category

Michael Jackson tribute event in Vienna: Cancelled!

Michael Jackson tribute is not going to happen in Vienna

MJ tribute is not going to happen in Vienna and he probably wouldn't care

I pity all those guys who bought tickets, which cost from 63 to 518 euros, to see the Michael Jackson tribute in Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna. After it was announced, big names in music biz started to came up. Madonna, U2, Stevie Wonder. Guess what? It won’t happen anytime soon.

On Tuesday the producer George Kindel and Jermaine Jackson initially presented “some of the artists” (13 so far). Michael’s brother and initiator, Jermaine, felt insulted that the Austrian media dubbed these artists as B-listers. On the other hand, Mr. Kindel claimed that he and his business partner didn’t name any names and it was the Austrian media that invented the famous musicians. Grammy winner Mary J. Blige huge in Vienna? In the US, perhaps. And Chris Brown? Isn’t this guy in trouble now after he has been accused of punching his girlfriend Rihanna a few months ago? Natalie Cole found the whole thing iffy.

In fact, it is indeed iffy. On the first day it was conceptualised, commerce and pure marketing were clearly plastered on this event. It was a vehicle for Michael’s brother and some people to make money. It was not love and respect that drove them to do this. And I wonder why Vienna? “Michael loves castles and his music is majestic” was the reason they gave. And I thought of massice traffic, and thousands of promotion for the city. But does Vienna really need this?

It turns out it is already cancelled. The place might not be anymore in Vienna, but Jermaine determined to push it through in London: “We will hold the concert in the city that he himself chose for his comeback concerts but, due to his tragic death, he was not able to do.”

Vice Mayor Renate Brauner pledged to finance the event 600,000 euros, yes, that’s your and my money. Though today she and her people from the Wiener Tourismus stated that not a single cent flowed into the event.

Are you disappointed that the MJ tribute is not going to transpire in Vienna on Sept. 26?

Ladies’ Day at the KHM

For all of you gratis fans out there. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is exclusively inviting all women on August 6. Throughout the day the women are privileged to pay only half of the ticket price, that’s 5 euros, starting at 10 am. And beginning at 6 pm, everyone can enter for free! The museum is open until 9 pm. Flowers will be given away for the female visitors.

This is to coincide the exhibit “sinnlich, weiblich, flämisch – Frauenbilder rund um Rubens” under the Intermezzo project held at Hall VIII. A special tour concerning the exhibit is also slated, for free.

At 6:30 pm a podium discussion will tackle the theme “Das Bild von einer Frau–was ist das Prinzip Weiblichkeit?” with the prominent guest, the Secretary on Women Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek.

Programm-Highlights im Überblick:

ab 10 Uhr halber Eintrittspreis für alle Besucherinnen des Kunsthistorischen Museums

13 Uhr Führung durch die Ausstellung „… sinnlich, weiblich, flämisch“ (Saal VIII)

15 Uhr Sonderführung durch die Ausstellung „… sinnlich, weiblich, flämisch“ (Saal VIII) mit Kuratorin Gerlinde Gruber

16 Uhr Performative Installation mit Fanni Futterknecht und Valerie Oberleithner (Saal VIII) mit Unterstützung von Impulstanz

17 Uhr Führung durch die Ausstellung „… sinnlich, weiblich, flämisch“ (Saal VIII)

ab 18 Uhr freier Eintritt für alle Besucherinnen und Besucher

18.30 Uhr Talk-Runde „Das Bild von einer Frau – was ist das Prinzip Weiblichkeit?“ (Saal VIII)

Teilnehmer: Generaldirektorin Sabine Haag, Frauenministerin Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Tänzer Michael Birkmeyer
Moderation: Erna Cuesta

Musikprogramm:
Natalia Ushakova, Opernsängerin
Inge Kuhn, Flötistin

Welttag 2009

Somewhere in Neuer Markt

It  is a good day to go for a walk today. That is if you have nothing to do and you don’t know what to do. It is funny to look at the building snow hills in front of your neighbours’ roofs while sipping your tea but perhaps going for a stroll and listening to the Vienna guides is way much better to spend your weekend.

Welttag 2009 offers free guides and lectures about Hofburg and Albertina. The history of the Habsburgs dominate, of course, the event. One of the topics includes a discussion on the plight of the female members of the dynasty. It is an interesting way to find out how the archduchesses and princesses reacted to their fates through historical facts. Some of them rebelled openly. While others went to seek their Christian gods.

And for the first time there will be guides in English, French and Spanish though you need to register first in order to avail this guide in your preferred language.

The program starts at 10. This is another way of learning and re-discovering Vienna don’t you think? You still have two hours to prepare.

Schönbrunn summer night free concert 2008

Schloss SchönbrunnThis is the time of the year when the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will perform again for free tomorrow night, 9 p.m. at the Schloss Schönbrunn in the 13th District, exactly in front of the majestic Neptune Fountain. This is going to be an open-air event where everyone doesn’t need to reserve tickets just to see the famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

If you don’t mind the crowd and standing up, it could be a feast just listening to Austria’s one of “best-known musical institutions.”

Georges Prêtre, who conducted the New Year’s Concert 2008, will be conducting the orchestra tomorrow. It is broadcast to over 50 countries world-wide via the ORF. Well, well, well…

According to the website, in case of bad weather an alternate date will be on Wednesday, June 5, same time, same place.

Falcogasse soon???

Unsinn

That’s what I heard from any native I talked to after telling them that Ziegelöfengasse in the Fifth District would soon be Falcogasse. It is not definite yet. And I doubt that it will ever happen. I am not sure if the signatures plus the list of prominent people who spoke out to have a Falcogasse would be granted. Take the former mayor of Vienna Helmut Zilk for example. Initiated by Alex Nausner of the 88.6 radio station, he and the supporters think that Falcostiege is not enough to pay an hommage to Austria’s first-ever successful pop musician.

Falco was successful, talented, and just like every artist who got trapped due to a mix of fame/self-doubt/bad friends/money ended deadly.

They said he was a music genius, a Wunderkind like his family, friends, colleagues and fans declared. Maybe he was also one of the “great” musicians Austria has ever had. So why not a street to remember him. But is it really worth it to rename Ziegelöfengasse (since 1862, it was Piaristengasse as the private Catholic school Piaristen is located there, renamed due to a once-standing brick kiln, Ziegelöfen in German) Falcogasse?

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What do you think?

Yay or Nay?

Schönbrunn’s main attraction

Every tourist coming to Vienna will visit the Schönbrunn castle. Just because you have to. There are many attractions there: the grand castle, the coach museum, the park, the zoo, the gloriette and what else. But I think the main attractions seem to be: squirrels.

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Carrie Bradshaw called them “rats with nice fur coats”, but obviously tourists seem to be of the opposite view. Everywhere they are kneeling down, holding out hands, making strange sucking, smooching and slupring noises to attract them. Regulars feed them with nuts and have their special places. Kids are screaming “Mummy where!? Mummy where!?” and mummys are screaming back “over there, look, over there.” Other mothers scream: “Don’t go near or they’ll bite you! You’ll get rabies!” Depending on protectiveness, I think. One of them said: “I don’t like squirrels, one of them chewed my finger to the bone.” What? I also overheard a girl say to her boyfriend: “see, there is one. I am not fantasizing as you said.” But that opens up a whole different set of questions, I don’t want to go into right now.

Why are those little bastards so popular? I say because of their black little round eyes and cuty furry appearance. Also the sudden and unexpected contact to nature is a wonderful thing for city tourists. Or they’ll look at anything that is to look at for free.

Anyway, if you come to Vienna: go see Schönbrunn, visit the squirrels, don’t forget to bring some nuts.

Live Earth in Vienna

If you, like me, don’t like crowded places, then you might want to avoid Rathausplatz this Saturday. If you, like me, don’t like ritualised mass-happines and bigot excuses for staging a big party, then you might want to leave the city for the weekend. Like me.

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Anyway, you might like a free concert and a lot of people like rock festivals (otherwise why would there be so many?) and you might be a fan of Madonna, James Blunt, Beastie Boys, Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins and a few thousand others, so you probably want to check it out. Jeez, Michael Nyman and Silbermond on the same stage… Live Earth is being staged this Saturday in every major city of the world and on the Rathausplatz in Vienna there will be a super mega big screen for people to watch. And a hundred snack-counters and the next day a brigade of trashmen to pick up the litter.

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Do you remember when people used to talk shit about Sting because he wanted to save the rainforest? How credible are people like Snoop Dogg, Madonna or The Pussycatdolls in regards of ecology? The city of Vienna will offer information on how to save the planet. The gastronomy will offer ways to get loaded. Wonder where more people will be cueing? Is U2 not joinging because the payment wasn’t good enough? The stars will arrive by private jets and limousines, why do they tell you to use public transport? Is Live Earth a bad thing now? No, I don’t think so. But the amount of bigotry and self-rightousness is nauseating.

A good place to start getting more info might be the webservice of the city: Wiener Klimaschutztag

The top 25 Vienna Legends: #2 / Stephansdom

The towers of St. Stephen's Cathedral

Vienna isn’t complete without Stephansdom. Or, much better, Vienna is not Vienna without Stephansdom. It serves its legions of faithful followers for more than 800 years. Though I am not religious, it is my most favourite spot in Vienna.

The tourists are fond of it too. They never miss a single Vienna itinerary without spending hours taking snapshots of the building, pondering at the odd pictograms, weird statues, strange symbolisms and monuments, dissecting the architecture, adoring the height of the towers, listening to the Pummerin toll each hour.

Although the whole nation boasts 73.6 percent of Roman Catholics, the Viennese slowly begin to lose interest in the religion. But not so with their beloved cathedral that imbues beauty, history and superstitious beliefs at the same time. For the Viennese every time they lay their eyes on the cathedral it exudes pride and reminds them of their ancestors’ rich legacy. Stephansdom is a living proof that the Austrians aim for the best, always reaching for the impossible. And the beauty of Stephansdom is breathtaking. No wonder people then believed that constructing this gigantic building would be impossible without the help of some magical powers.

So do you know what’s up behind the tortured face of the Jesus monument outside of the Old Steven? How about the towers?

The first time I heard of Our Lord of the Toothache I laughed my heart out. The Zahnwehherrgott is the half Jesus statue on the pedestal fronting the Club Stephansdom, next to the flowershop.

According to the legend, the statue used to stand in the cemetery surrounding the cathedral and the people liked to decorate it with wreathes of flowers. One day, an old woman didn’t notice that the wreath slipped a bit to one side and the whole thing looked a bit funny.

One night three men, drunk and in a merry mood, passed by the statue. One of them remarked that Jesus had a toothache. He and his friends burst out laughing disturbing the neighborhood while the men continued to walk home. As they prepared to go to bed the three had a hard time sleeping. Yes, you guessed it right! A severe toothache that knew no remedy tortured the three hapless souls. One of the men couldn’t take it anymore went to the barber (I didn’t know that barbers then did the dentist job!) and demanded that his teeth be removed due to an unbelievable pain.

The barber didn’t find anything wrong with the man’s teeth. It just dawned on his patient that he did something blasphemous. So he ran as fast as he could to the cemetery and threw himself in front of the statue begging for forgiveness. When the pain started to fade away he found out that his comrades were kneeling beside him too obviously for the same reason. Thus, they repented and went home ashamed telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it again.
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