Thursday, 31 July 2014


author: Marianna Salzmann
theatre/ensemble: Deutsches Theater Berlin

seen on the 21st June during the New Plays From Europe Festival in Wiesbaden

plot: Three women, three generations, three life plans: grandmother, mother, and daughter. What was it like to be a Jew in East Germany fifty years ago? What does it mean today?

verdict: If you enjoyed the film "8 femmes" you will love this play.
It´s a joy to listen to these women fight, bitch and gaining insights to their inner turmoils.
Sometimes you want to run on stage and tell them to just leave each other alone...but everyone will recognize some or more typical mother/ daughter situations and conflicts.
The play would be nothing without its stunning actresses, especially Anita Vulesica (which I only knew from German tv crime series "Ein Fall für Zwei", can you believe it!), Gabriele Heinz and Natalia Belitski (even though I found her acting a bit too nervy and a bit too much).
Thoughtprovoking, clever and entertaining - brilliant.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

pretty ugly

When it comes to fashion I have no backbone.
I read about the newest style craze in a magazine...I think "That's horrid...I see it on a blog...I see it on another blog...I think "Hmm, not sure"...I see it on someone...I see it on someone else...I think "I have to have it. NOW!"

Someone else suffering from this condition?
Whatever I deem ugly first, as soon as it has reached the fashion hall of fame at least for a while, I want to have it.
This time: white Arizona Birkenstocks.
I love Birkenstocks and spend pretty much my entire summer in them now.
But the white ones always seemed only appropriate for health care workers.

Well, when I saw fake ones on offer at Aldi this week I had to grab a pair (the last one! Seems I'm not alone...).
And now I look at them and find them wonderful...wonderful and ugly but nevertheless cool.

I think that's what you call a fashion victim.

Let me know: any trends you classed as ugly first and then fell for shortly after?

Think I will wear them to London first...not sure Wiesbaden is ready for them yet...

everyday (part 30)

As Alice in Astonishland quite rightly pointed out, this category needs a reminder again what it actually means. It means one first time each and every day (works out fine and is in fact very easy). A new taste, a new experience, a new route, a new song, a new whatever. 
Just raising my own awareness to new things and with that hoping to feel time passing more slowly (not working right now).
So it´s not the best thing that happened to me each day, otherwise a day where the best thing was an airport queue would be a pretty bad one ;-)

23. - 29. July

23.7. had to queue for more than 40min to drop off my luggage at Heathrow, was entertained though watching people ignoring every announcement and missing their flights ( hahaha *evil laugh*)
24.7. heard the Polizeiorchester Rheinland-Pfalz play a concert for children on Mainz university campus while walking past - and found out that they are musicians and not trained police officers
25.7. took a different route in Frankfurt from the undergound stop "Glauburg Straße" to my beloved Berger Straße...I love exploring new roads
26.7. stayed for the start of the impro theatre late night show on Wiesbaden´s Neroberg but didn´t like it - still love the atmosphere up there but the shows failed to excite me recently
27.7. first walk through the forest after the big storm in early July looking at many destroyed trees, sad
28.7. bought my first ever white and possibly ugly nurse style sandals, fashionvictim ;-)
29.7. had the marinated pork steaks instead of the chicken ones from Lidl (yes, groundbreaking)

Monday, 28 July 2014

cakes go pop

A friends post on Facebook about her struggle with producing pretty looking cake pops showed me one fact again: I´m a greedy and lazy lady.

I have a cake pop maker!
And do you know why? So I can make bite sized cakes within minutes when I crave them - no decorations, no sticks. Batter gets mixed, pops get baked, pops get eaten - done.

Before the whole Pinterest and Instagram thing took off I didn´t know what a matter of fact person I actually am :-)

Why do this...

when you can in no time at all devour those:

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

director: Felix Herngren
year: 2013
with: Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, David Wiberg, Mia Skäringer, etc.

plot: Allan’s life has been devoted to his passion for dynamite and bookended by being sent to a psychiatric hospital as a child and now a retirement home for blowing up a man who swindled his mother and the fox that ate his cat, Molotov.
As the staff and fellow pensioners prepare to throw the rebellious centenarian a party, Allan makes the impromptu decision to climb out of the window  and disappear. Then, when Allan makes off with a violent skinhead’s suitcase the action cuts between Karlsson’s capers on his birthday and his life story where he saves Franco’s life, dances with Stalin, and brings about the end of the Berlin Wall.

what I liked: I loved the solution to have the narrated bits in English and the dialogues in subtitled Swedish, well done! And the humour is just typical for northern films, perfect.

what I didn't like: Robert Gustafsson surely does a good job at aging and being rejuvenated in front of the camera but, as so often in films, I have troubles seeing a 100 year old in him.

verdict: Very much a Swedish Forrest Gump that is completely non p.c. which makes it fun. Good entertainment if you manage to turn off any logic and rational thinking but not something I need to watch again and again - yes, I have to read the book now (own it for several years now).

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2014

"This is the world’s largest open entry exhibition and we’ve been holding it for nearly 250 years – that’s nine British monarchies, 43 US Presidents, two World Wars and more than 50 British Prime Ministers. Throughout that time, the Summer Exhibition has remained a powerful barometer of the art of each age. And the same simple premise has always applied – anyone can enter and all of the works are chosen by leading artists.
The sheer variety of work presented each year is what makes the Summer Exhibition an annual highlight of the cultural calendar. This year, you can explore the black and white room curated by Cornelia Parker, see what our new RAs Thomas Heatherwick and Bob and Roberta Smith have in store and, as ever, view hundreds of other works by people who may yet become your new favourite artists. Who will you discover?" 

I cannot stress enough how terrified I am that even 2014 is so far progressed already again that I went to the yearly Summer Exhibition at London's Royal Academy.

As always it is an overwhelming display of 1262 art works ranging from drawings over paintings to architectural 3D models and a film installation.
While I didn't see anything too inspiring last year I found this year a strong one again. Not only was I inspired and thought more than once "Why didn't I have this idea?!", no, this time I even had to laugh out loud (not too loud of course...didn't wanna upset the distinguished RA friends around me) because some works where that funny.
Like a pro I made notes in the exhibition catalogue to remember which artists are worth checking out.

Here some of my highlights:

Maria Konstanse Bruun "You are to me what I was to her #1"

Cornelia Parker "Stolen Thunder II"

Anthony Dyson "On the brink"

Anna Grayson "An Allegory of Modern Marriage" (After Jan van Eyck)

Phil Shaw "For Piet's Sake"

Peter Abrahams "Approximate Precision - Scourers 4"

Martin Creed "Work No. 398: Assholes"

Friday, 25 July 2014

everyday (part 29)

16.- 22. July

16.7. been to the newly opened "Hema" in Kingston - another shop that looks and feels like "Tiger"
17.7. celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with a luxurious burger at "Three Horseshoes"
18.7. went to the Curzon cinema in Richmond for the first time and saw "Boyhood"
19.7. went to London and saw "1984" in the Playhouse Theatre, the ticket cost 19,84
20.7. collected a lot of blackberries from the field near our house, finally they were ripe while I was over
21.7. travelled in the back of our car as we needed the front seat for transporting wooden stakes
22.7. walked from Acton Town to Holland Park and met my fellow blogger vivian which was lovely

Thursday, 24 July 2014

palm greasing

This morning I stumbled upon another small difference between living in Germany and living in UK.

The summer holidays have started or are at least about to start.
Kids say good-bye to their teachers, maybe only for the next six weeks, maybe they are leaving school.
In the UK (and I guess in the US as everything vaguely commercial seems to originate from there) you can buy a "Thank You Teacher" present for this occasion. These start with relatively sensible things like greetingcards up to chocolates and even personalised items (pinterest has whole boards for this, check it out if you are nosy).

If you would do so in Germany (and I´m sure it is done nevertheless) you are actually entering the realms of illegality. In Germany teachers are public servants, employed by the state, and therefore every gifting can be seen as corruption.
Another interesting little difference - no wonder I always looked a bit sceptical at all the "Thank you teacher" merchandise.

Monday, 21 July 2014


theatre: Wyndham´s Theatre
author: David Hare
director: Stephen Daldry

with: Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan, Matthew Beard

plot: On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant, a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.

what I liked: Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, what more do I need to say. The play itself is somewhat dated but nevertheless the discussed issues are still up-to-date. I was especially delighted by the clever and atmospheric stage design!

what I didn't like: Nothing really, it´s only that Bill Nighy is (at least in my eyes) such a loveable person - Carey Mulligan on the other side acted slightly stiff which gave the already jaundiced teacher character an even more unlikeable egde so the verbal battle between the two never seemed fully equal.

verdict: Not sure if Bill Nighy really is a splendid actor as whatever he acts - he always is "Bill Nighy".  But I don´t care, I enjoyed the play and it was wonderful to see him live on stage.

PS: There is some real chopping and cooking going on on stage - this distracted me somewhat. I hate to think it all gets binned each and every night...and is it really normal to pour milk into a bolognese sauce?!?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

everyday (part 28)

9.- 15. July

9.7. pitched our tent at Housedean Farm Campsite
10.7. watched "The 100-year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared" in the absolutely charming Duke of York cinema in Brighton
11.7. visited Lewes and discovered a lovely Polish cafe and pottery shop...needless to say that we could not resist some cake and shopping some crockery
12.7. seen Robbie Williams "Swing Both Ways" at the O2 in London
13.7. walked a different road back from buying carrots in Ashford
14.7. showed my friend Sophia from Germany the wonders of Kew Gardens
15.7. had a free haircut with Vidal Sassoon in Chelsea

Before Midnight

director: Richard Linklater
year: 2013
with: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed, etc.

plot: It has been nine years since we last met Jesse and Celine, the French-American couple who once met on a train in Vienna. They now live in Paris with twin daughters, but have spent a summer in Greece on the invitation of an author colleague of Jesse's. When the vacation is over and Jesse must send his teenage son off to the States, he begins to question his life decisions, and his relationship with Celine is at risk.

what I liked: I´m a fan of the two predecessors "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" so had to see this one. As you know I like those slightly plot-anaemic and wordy films and have grown older with Celine and Jesse so can relate to their problems. They both have character and act so relaxed and convincingly with each other that you can´t take your eyes off them.

what I didn't like: The whole scene diing with their friends and discussing life was pretentious and annoying. If they all would have started seducing each other I would have thought I ended up in a French film ;-) And I´m still not sure if I like Julie Delpy or not so I have to keep watching her films, hehe

verdict: They argue, they fight but most important - they love each other. Again a joy to watch, not only because of the picturesque Aegean setting...and the maturing sexappeal of Mr Hawke.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The 32-Year Old who Walked Into The Shower and (Nearly) Disappeared

Last week my husband and I went to Sussex and pitched our tent at the Housedean Farm Campsite.
It was a wish of me to spend a little more time in and around Brighton again - since we got married there pretty much exactly six years ago it had been daytrips only.

After a nice and relaxed afternoon stroll through Hove and some fish&chips on the beach on the first day we survived an unsettled night as the storm was blowing unhindered over the field and was working on tearing the tent down.
The next morning was rainy and grey - time for a shower to get the day started.
A special feature of this campsite is their open air shower. You obviously don´t get seen from the outside but there is no roof so you have the proper outdoor experience, especially when it rains.

I flipfloped to the facility area, shut the door with a hook from the inside and did what one does in a shower.
Short-haired as I am and practical as I can be (emphasising the can here) taking a shower usually takes me no longer than five minutes in total. Just as it started to rain again I was ready and dressed, grabbed my stuff, unhooked the door and...the door didn´t open. I pushed it, I slightly shook it, nothing.

Through a gap in the wooden door I could see fellow campers walking past but I felt too awkward and embarrassed to shout for help.
So I stood there, waiting for my husband to search for me, waiting for a good idea how to get out of here again.
Getting rained on, listening to the French teenagers on the other side of the door, wondering what "I can´t open bloody door" is called in French, knowing I would never say it anyway.
Cold...angry...miserable. Cursing the shower, the site, the trip, the entire world.

I felt like Michel´s Dad in "Michel aus Lönneberga" written by Astrid Lindgren (called Emil i Lönneberga in English and the Swedish original) when he gets locked in the toilet and stuck in the window after attempting to escape. He eventually plots to blow the whole toilet did I!

There would be a chance to climb over the side but then I would be sitting on the roof of the toilet block, not somewhere I could just appear gracefully and make it look like the most normal thing to do in the world...
Where the fuck was my husband?!? It was at least 30 minutes ago now that I had left the tent. I could see him waiting, unsure what to do...I was so angry, I could be dying here without anybody noticing!

Eventually he came to my rescue and let cold and wet me out again.
It took me a while, some tea and tears to recover.

Later that day we had a look together at the evil shower door again.
It turned out that the door had an ordinary shed door mechanism that shuts itself when pulled and in order to open it again the doorknob needs to be slightly turned.
It turned out that aprox. 99,9% of the population would have had no problem opening that door.

I´m just a hopeless case sometimes, not practical at all!
But gained a story for the grandchildren now.

Friday, 18 July 2014

everyday (part 27)

2. July - 8. July

2.7. met a friend from old uni daysfor lunch (woohoo, I'm a lady who lunches) which I hadn't "properly" met for roughly eight years - thanks to Facebook though it felt as if we always were constantly in contact
3.7.discovered funny silver shining flowers in the botanical garden in Mainz
4.7. for the first time had the flight captain warning us about the usually bumpy approach into Heathrow as it was extra bumpy ;-)
5.7. saw Skylight at the Wyndham's theatre in London starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan
6.7. visited Eel Pie Island in Twickenham for the first time and took loads of pictures
7.7. bought a blouse from the Princess Alice hospice charity shop, never found anything to wear there before
8.7. had to give up on our plan to go to Kingston as traffic was just too manic, who would think the Hampton Court Flower Show would attract such a number of people?!


author: Ahmet Sami Özbudak
theatre/ensemble: GalataPerform, Istanbul

seen on the 26th June during the New Plays From Europe Festival in Wiesbaden

plot: The tranvestite in 2010, the communist in 1980 and the Greek-Orthodox sisters in 1955 - they all live in the same flat in Istanbul Tarlabaşı. They are outsiders of their time, each of them leaving traces behind - scents are lingering in the air, objects get moved, voices of those who argued, loved and laughed here are heard.

verdict: The idea of showing all three plot lines at the same time and in the same space is clever and new to me. In Istanbul this play apparently gets performed in a real flat which I'm sure makes it quite intense and eerie in a way. As intelligent and fresh the idea and the stage design are, in my opinion the plotlines let it down. I don't particularly care about the fate of all the portrayed outsiders and little is done to characterise them properly.

Monday, 14 July 2014

more from Eel Pie Island

...for more photos have a look at the  first part

sportsmanship - the absence of Sportsgeist

The football worldcup is over and done with, I survived again without watching a single match and don't feel as if I missed anything.
If I'm not interested in football all the other 3 years and 360 weeks between world cups I see no point in suddenly pretending it.
What irritates me and always has so are the phrases that you can read everywhere today "WE are proud", WE have done well", OUR boys".

Hmm, call me a nitpicker but they are certainly not MY boys, I'm not proud of people I wouldn't even recognize in the street and I certainly haven't done well ( last night I spend sitting in the bath tub looking after my sunburned skin - not sure that counts as an outstanding achievement really).

Don't get me wrong, for a change this is not a rant - I noticed football passes quicker if I ignore it than if I get angry (the wisdom that comes with age I suppose).
 But I seem to be part of a small group of people who are 100% lacking any form of sportsmanship.

Last year Sebastian Vettel got the title three or four races before the end of the season, my Dad said what I thought "Does he still have to take part in those now?!?"
As a Brasilian player last week, can't you just say "Had enough now, you are winning, bye bye"??
If you are unfortunate and get injured during a match, isn't it better if it happens in minute one so you can leave and sit by the side?

It won't suprise you now that attending sport events during school for me was mostly a case of going there, showing my face to the teacher and leaving again after about five minutes. At least I never pretended being ill!
I'm not a fighter and doubt this will ever change.

So, what is your opinion on this? Are you maybe too a person lacking this particular spirit?

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Book Thief

director: Brian Percival
year: 2013
with: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Barbara Auer, etc.

plot: Based on the international bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, an extraordinary and courageous young girl sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. She learns to read with encouragement from her new family and Max, a Jewish refugee who they are hiding under the stairs. For Liesel and Max, the power of words and imagination become the only escape from the tumultuous events happening around them. The Book Thief is a life-affirming story of survival and of the resilience of the human spirit.

what I liked: Normally I have problems with kids as main characters on screen or stage but Sophie Nelisse did a brilliant job and I enjoyed her quiet and never affected acting.
Not too long, not too sentimental and not too violent.

what I didn't like: The actors all speaking English, obviously, with those awful fake German accents, horrible. Either do the film in English or in German, that mix might be the best solution for the masses but is a shame for the rest.

verdict: A surprisingly good film that doesn´t pull on the viewer´s heartstrings too much. Liesel´s perspective on the historical events might not be the most critical and reflected (some critics accused the film of trivialising the Nazi regime) but she is a child after all.
But one question remains for me: how do you get a 2013 childrens choir to wear Hitler Youth uniforms and sing propaganda songs - that must be a very weird experience for everyone involved!

And after seeing Görlitz again on screen (after The Grand Budapest Hotel) I really want to travel there now.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

everyday (part 26)

25. June -  1. July

25.6. watered my grandparents grave with the help of an empty applewine bottle - couldn't be bothered to carry the big watering can all the way through town so I decided a bottle would be less obstrusive (made me look like an episodic drinker though)
26.6. had a bank appointment with yet another smart boy talking things through...why is it you never meet the same one twice?!
27.6. had the most amazing Gai Phad King (chicken with ginger) at Chi Chi Thai Frankfurt
28.6. saw "Muttersprache Mameloschn" in theatre, stunning main actress!
29.6. had some home made red currant cake, never made one before
30.6.after festival blues, fought it with the first home-made cappuccino (usually make latte macchiatos with my fancy electric milk foamer)
1.7. tried the bargain ice cream at the Eis Pavillion in Mainz Gonsenheim

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Eel Pie Island excursion

Last Sunday I finally managed to be in England for one of the Open Atelier days on the infamous Eel Pie Island in Twickenham.
Together with a friend from university I went on a photo safari and, as expected, instantly fell in love with all it´s wacky eccentricity and whimsical charme.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Zoran Đinđić

author: Oliver Frljić
theatre/ensemble: Oliver Frljić & Ensemble

seen on 21st June in Wiesbaden during the  New Plays From Europe Festival

plot:  Zoran Đinđić, elected Serbia’s Prime Minister in 2001, followed a democratic, Western-oriented strategy that made him the enemy of the country’s communist and nationalist camps. The extradition of war criminals and his fight against organized crime mobilized further opposition and on 12 March 2013, he was shot by a sniper. Oliver Frljić and his company take this assassination as a starting point to examine the context and circumstances that led up to it. The text is based on interviews conducted with the actors and persons who either were close to Đinđić or are continuing his political work. Central questions are those of collective guilt and the options for action each individual has in times of chaos. The author says: “Of course it is wrong to commit a crime, but it is equally criminal to just sit around and do nothing. [...] It is my aim to make the audience aware and to confront them with their own responsibility. That is why the actors are constantly addressing the audience.”

verdict:  Sometimes I get punished for randomly chosing plays without getting any background information before. This evening was one of them, if not the worst.
The biggest problem is/was: I don´t know anything about Serbian/Croatian politics apart from recognizing a few names from the news. Therefore I couldn´t understand any of the depicted problems.
This "play" wants to provoke and it certainly does using strong images and actions that are way to blatant for my taste. A burning church, people in body bags, hands dunked in blood...then comes the extremely harsh, fast and loud language that forced me giving up on the translation at some stage.
All the names and accusations I couldn´t grasp anyway.
My "highlight" came right at the end (fortunately) - well, now I can say that I have witnessed an actress puking live on stage. Thank you very much indeed. The emetophobic in me was delighted, not.
Not an evening for the faint hearted, not one that does me wanna find out anything more about all the conflicts past and present in their countries. I was just very, very happy to go home.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Oops, I did it again

Mid-June "my" wedding season started again...what a great weekend it was!