Help! Vienna Offers Too Much to Experience!


Help, I need somebody

Robert Lepage

There is almost no evening left for a fine glass of wine in one of the fabulous “Heurige” (new-wine-inn) in the wine yards around Vienna: the Vienna Festival, the theatres, the Danube Island Festival, The Real Eighties (American movies)…they all keep you busy all night…Help!

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And above all: the bloody t-shirt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination at Sarajevo had rung in World War I – only shown to the public from June 21 till July 2. The Jesuit order kept it for over 90 years; now they’ve left it for safekeeping with the Army’s History Museum…and I had a look at it yesterday…my understanding of history did not really improve.

“Patty Hearst” directed by Paul Schrader, “Colors” and “Out of the Blue” by Dennis Hopper, “Johnny Handsome” by Walter Hill, “Cop” by James B. Harris, “There Will Be Blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Outsiders” by Francis Ford Coppola, and more – all movies in English…the real Eighties of the United States are coming alive at the Museum of Film during the last three weeks – and the three performances I saw were crowded. I enjoyed it very much. (I admit I skipped “The Terminator” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Help!)

“The Reality Machine” was a big project of the Vienna Festival, co-produced with the Thalia Theatre Hamburg – and was, in my and most critics’ opinions, a flop – I am very sorry to say. Different news – radio, newspaper, television – were read to the audience and supposed to be translated into stage reality…I get into stuttering while referring to the evening…Help!

So next evening I went to the Vienna fair to see a stage production by Robert Lepage, the famous Canadian director: “Playing Cards 1: Spades” – a wonderful evening with fantastic actors and breathtaking mechanics: the playing cards whirling through the air and a blizzard on stage! The audience, no doubt, had to be in Las Vegas and listened breathlessly: a couple, just married by Elvis, falls out when meeting cowboy Dick; a lady comforts an Iraqi-soldier; a businessman desires enlightenment – and all the ladies and guys are sort of weary of life. Great! Marvelous!

Luc Bondy

Applause and a medal for Luc Bondy and his merits: After 11 years as director of the Vienna Festival, the Mayor of Vienna honored Bondy and, all in all, his fantastic work over the last decade-plus…Bondy said goodbye with a beautiful and high-praised performance of “Tartuffe” by Moli√®re; he now will return to the Odeon Theatre at Paris.

And for whom life reveals not enough satire on daily events – hop on the latest hit at Vienna: join the “Institute for Applied Corruption!” An excursion through Vienna will bring you to the domiciles of some people who have benefited handsomely from corruption, but plead not guilty in many a trial…A judge once argued: “It stinks, but it stinks not enough!”

Help! I need someone, help!

Next week I’ll have a look at an exhibition of the work of Linda McCartney, whose portrait of Eric Clapton in 1968 was the first by a woman photographer published on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine.

And last Friday, the Danube Island Festival opened: On 2.8 miles of ground some 2,000 artists will feature a 600-hour program, and enjoy all kinds of music with the audience: Europe’s biggest Austropop event!