Author Archives: Cornelia

FRANTZ – Movie Release in Los Angeles – March 24

FRANTZ, the latest film from renowned filmmaker Francois Ozon, will be released in Los Angeles on March 24 at the Landmark’s Nuart Theatre.

CaliforniaGermans has 2 pairs of movie tickets to give away for March 24 in Los Angeles! If you would like to receive a FREE pair of movie tickets, send us an email here with your full name and mention the movie “FRANTZ”. We will choose and contact 2 lucky movie goers among the first 10 emails we receive.

-FRANTZ –

A haunting tale of love and reconciliation through the eyes of the First World War’s lost generation.

Set in Germany and France in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, (1914-1918), Frantz recalls the mourning period that follows great national tragedies as seen through the eyes of the war’s “lost generation”: Anna (21 year-old Paula Beer in a breakthrough performance), a bereft young German woman whose fiancé, Frantz, was killed during trench warfare, and Adrien (Pierre Niney, Yves Saint Laurent), a French veteran of the war who shows up mysteriously in her town, placing flowers on Frantz’s grave. Adrien’s presence is met with resistance by the small community still reeling from Germany’s defeat, yet Anna gradually gets closer to the handsome and melancholy young man, as she learns of his deep friendship with Frantz, conjured up in evocative flashbacks.

What follows is a surprising exploration of how Ozon’s characters’ wrestle with their conflicting feelings – survivor’s guilt, anger at one’s losses, the overriding desire for happiness despite everything that has come before, and the longing for sexual, romantic and familial attachments.

Inspired by Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 film Broken Lullaby, FRANTZ is an elegant and dramatic love story—both between two individuals and between two nations at the core of the imperiled European Union experiment.

Early Praise for FRANTZ

“Exquisite and haunting…one of the talented director Francois Ozon’s very best films.” -Paper

“A richly imagined and superbly assembled period piece.” -The Hollywood Reporter

“Astonishingly beautiful and inquisitive. It’s impossible to deny the sheer narrative sophistication.” -Indiewire

Run time: 113 minutes, Rating: PG-13, Language: French and German with English subtitles


Credits: MusicBoxFilms

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Adolesco – Your Ticket to the World!

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A non-profit language immersion and cultural exchange program  – ADOLESCO

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17-year old Sacramento-area teenager Gemma B. has lived in Germany, France, and Spain in addition to her native California thanks to Adolesco, a non-profit exchange organization that matches American children and teens with exchange partners in Europe for short-term language-immersion and cultural exchanges.

Unlike typical ‘one-way’ foreign exchange programs, Adolesco only offers real exchanges: each carefully matched partner has the chance to both host and travel, taking turns to live with their exchange partner and family for up to three months. This reciprocal exchange experience typically results in close friendships and life-long international connections on both sides.

“When I arrived at the airport in Germany, it wasn’t hard to find my exchange family: they were wearing matching grins and t-shirts that spelled out ‘GEMMA’. Johanna’s family was so welcoming that I quickly felt at home.”

You Can Participate With Little To No Foreign Language Knowledge

With Adolesco’s guidance, children and teens with little or no exposure to a second language are often able to gain remarkable fluency. As Gemma recalls, “I’d only studied German for a few months before going to Germany. During the first days of my exchange, beginning to understand and speak German was alternately frustrating and hilarious. Eventually, speaking German became Adolesco gemma-and-johanna_goslarsurprisingly normal.”

And there’s no reason to wait until college for the opportunity to study abroad. Living a new culture as a member of a family rather than visiting as a tourist is a tremendous opportunity that Adolesco makes available for children as young as 9 (and up to 18). Parents on both sides are encouraged to treat the visiting child not as a guest, but as another sibling. This true integration offers a unique opportunity for developing real understanding and appreciation.

“I enjoyed experiencing life in Germany and learning about its culture and history. I also had the opportunity to re-examine and better understand my own country’s culture and relationship with the world.” -Gemma B.

How Does It Work?

Adolesco is based in France and staffed by a network of representatives and volunteers across Europe and North America whose children have benefitted from these exchanges. Interested families must complete a thorough application process that includes a home visit and interview. Candidates are only matched with exchange partners when the team feels like an exchange will succeed. In many cases, the connection between the two families and the two exchange partners will be life-long.

“The girls have a perfect understanding… this exchange opened new horizons for Emma but also for the whole family – thank you!” -Sandrine, French mother

In Latin, Adolesco means ‘I’m growing’ and the Adolesco team believes that learning a new language, understanding another culture, and growing beyond our cultural boundaries benefits our children, our families, and our world.

Learn more about Adolesco:

Adolesco is accepting applications for this summer! To travel or host this summer, apply by March 31 – visit www.Adolesco.org to get started.

Watch a short video about Gemma and Johanna’s exchange:

Follow current and past exchanges at www.facebook.com/adolesco.org

EXPLORE YOUR WORLD!

 Contact Adolesco’s Exchange Coordinator in California at kristin@adolesco.org

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Text & Images Copyright ©Adolesco                                                                       (Sponsored Post)
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Homage to Alf Lechner – Prominent Contemporary German Steel Sculptor and Family Friend

Würfel - Alf Lechner, Copyright©CaliforniaGermans.

Homage to Alf Lechner – Prominent contemporary German Steel Sculptor and Family Friend

I was born when he just had his first Gallery showing in Munich, in 1968. Later on he shall become my unofficial mentor for the arts.

Who is he? Alf Lechner. One of the “…most important German steel sculptors” according to Simone Schimpf, Director of the Museum for ‘Konkrete Kunst’ in Ingolstadt. Alf Lechner passed away February 25, 2017 in his home in Obereichstätt, Bavaria. He was 91 years old .

I carry many memories of Alf Lechner and his family in addition to the stories that I heard from my parents. Many times we visited him at his early home in Degerndorf, a home with a beautiful orchard-like back yard and with big steel sculptures greeting every visitor in the front.
I remember how impressed I was each time walking among his huge sculptures admiring the beauty of these, often rusty, big steel giants set against wild green nature that was sprinkled with rocks and pebbles. I could feel these big giants’ fascinating energy. They seemed to be one with earth’s breath and exhaling a magic beauty of strength. They were talking to me. Together with the untamed nature surrounding them, they were telling me a story. A story I didn’t understand in words but rather through my senses.

To me, this was the beginning of a long-lasting love for contemporary art, for impressive sculptures that would take me in and absorb me with all their might and take my breath away with their raw beauty.

Alf Lechner – Family Friend and Mentor

My father and Fredi, as we all called him, met long before Fredi became Alf Lechner, the famous German sculptor. He and his first wife ‘Bim’ and their three children, Veronika, Angie, and Katharina were part of my parent’s wedding, with Fredi being my parents’ Best Man. I remember spending many luscious dinners at their beautiful rustic house in Degerndorf, a house that sported a huge red entrance door with a golden door knocker. Something that must have really stuck with me since I vividly remember that beautiful door even today. I am sure this is the reason I always longed for a beautiful red door inviting guests into my home.

The house in Degerndof was big and beautiful, but also eerie in some way. At least for a then four/five-year old. I remember a spooky wine cellar and the creaking of the wood floors when searching for Fredi’s youngest daughter Katharina hoping she would spend some time with me while my parents enjoyed their time with Fredi and Bim. And then, there were the Siamese cats adding to the mystery of this fascinating home.

When I was about eleven, Fredi overheard a conversation I had with my parents while he and Bim were visiting us in Munich. My school offered violin lessons and one could take part in the school orchestra if you had a violin. It was a cool thing to be part of the school orchestra then and I tried to convince my parents how important a violin would be for me… Well, my parents didn’t budge. I already had a piano and piano lessons my mom said and that was enough. But the conversation took a surprising turn when suddenly Fredi tuned in to the conversation offering to lend me his old violin! What can I say, my life took a turn it might not have, if it hadn’t been for him. My path in the arts was paved and later on I went on to study music and theater.

Through the years my family and I saw new sculptures on his premises switching places with their older brothers, making their homes into museums and cities around Germany, sometimes changing in appearance from rusty to polished majestic steel titans, but always carrying on with the all-encompassing theme of simplicity.

Time moved on and my personal visits became less frequent as I turned an adult, especially after my move to California. But I feel fortunate that my older son got the privilege to meet this prolific artist several times as a toddler and later on again while visiting Germany, when we all got a chance to see Fredi again in his new home in Obereichstätt, where he showed us around his amazing sculpture garden in the midst of nature. A setting I think suits his sculptures best. And of course, we paid a visit to the “Lechner Museum” in Ingolstadt.

I cherish my many more memories and will always recall Alf Lechner fondly. I am grateful for every moment I was able to spend with this gifted sculptor and experience his powerful, analytical mind at work that managed to get the essence of simplicity captured in steel. I am forever grateful to him for having opened my eyes to the beauty of nature, to the energy of texture, simple movement and form and particularly for having ignited my love for the arts.

Striving for Simplicity in Alf Lechner’s Own Words

„Mein ganzes Lebensziel ist die Einfachheit. In der Einfachheit steckt so viel Kompliziertes, dass man gar nicht einfach genug sein kann“, sagte der Künstler einmal.

“My whole goal in life is [to strive for] simplicity. In simplicity lays so much complexity that we cannot be simple enough.”

 Alf Lechner2003 - copyright ©CaliforniaGermans

Rest in Peace, Fredi!

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Images : Copyright ©CaliforniaGermans & Rufus46

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Practicing German with Siri

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Practicing German with Apple’s Virtual Assistant, Siri

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Apple‘s  iPhone it turns out is not only an esthetic jewel but also a helpful source for practicing some daily German!

My husband recently upgraded his iPhone to the latest version, and gave his old phone to our 10-year old, who has eagerly been waiting for calling an iPhone his own. He happily grabbed his prey, and for the next hour or so he seemed to have completely disappeared.

Looking all over the house for him we finally stopped short in front of his room. Behind closed doors we heard his voice and someone else’s. Surprised my husband and I drew closer wondering who had come to visit him. We certainly didn’t hear the doorbell ring.

Listening in to the conversation we heard him speak German!! The conversation went something like that:

“Hallo”  – “Siri grüsst Dich ebenfalls.”

“Wie heisst Du?”  – “Siri. Es ist mir ein Vergnügen.”

“Wie geht’s?” – “Mir geht es prächtig.”

“Bist Du ein Mädchen?”  – “Ich verstehe nicht.”

“Bist Du ein Mann oder eine Frau?” – “Ist das relevant?”

“Was machst Du?” – “Ich mache die Hausaufgaben für meinen Weiterbildungskurs.” (eine eifrige Siri!)

“Was ist Deine Liebelingsfarbe” –    “Meine Lieblingsfarbe…, naja, wie soll ich das in Deiner Sprache ausdrücken? Eine Art grün , aber mit mehr Dimensionen”

“Was ist dein Lieblingsessen?” – “Ich rede nicht so gerne über mich”.                ODER  Siri antwortet vorwurfsvoll: –  “So was solltest du Deinen Assistenten eigentlich nicht fragen.”

“Wem gehörst du?” – “Entschuldigung ..das habe ich nicht verstanden.”

“Magst Du orange?” –  “Das möchte ich lieber nicht sagen.”

“Hast du auch mal Bauchweh?”  – “Das kann ich nicht beantworten.”

“Erzähl mir einen Witz” – “Zwei iPhones stehen an der Bar… Den Rest habe ich vergessen.”  

Manchmal hat Siri aber auch einen Witz auf Lager, dann klingt das so: “Auf der Wiese: Schaf zum Rasenmäher: “Mäh!” Sagt der Rasenmäher: “Du hast mir gar nichts zu befehlen!”

After having been somewhat reluctant to hand our child another digital device I had to revise my opinion. Apart from practicing his speaking skills, he also listens to Siri’s pretty well pronounced German, and he can improve his writing as well since one can also read the answers in German on the display.

Of course, should you like to go beyond the basic German Q/A s, you might still want to consider taking a real  German language course…  🙂

Karneval – Carnival – Fasching in CA

carnival berlin

How about ‘Karneval’ time in California?

I am not sure about other expats, but since I have moved over here to California, Fasching has moved far away from me. Not that I suddenly became a ‘Faschingsmuffel’ (carnival grouch). No, but no one out here in California celebrates Fasching the way I remember it from Germany.

You can participate in Mardi Gras celebrations in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but that’s not our German Fasching! Some Italian restaurant recently has taking advantage of this ‘fourth season’, as some call the carnival time in Germany, to push their new menu. But other than a special menu, no Venetian masquerade was offered with it. So, I wonder what food they might promote. A dressed up Pizza perhaps?

Anyway, Fasching is a wonderful tradition in Germany, but really nobody celebrates it here in California the way we are used to, UNLESS you have children or have a lot of German friends, who throw a ‘Karneval’ party.

Luckily some German schools out here try to keep our children in the loop and teach them some German traditions. They put on a fun ‘Faschings Fete’ and teach our children what Fasching is all about. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they even have some delicious Krapfen or Berliner, the official Carnival’s food…and, the real reason I love Fasching!

So, pack up your children  and let them experience some German Fasching out here in CA!

Following are some festivities we could locate. If you hear of some other Faschings parties. Please let us know!

12. February 2017Kinderkarneval at Phoenix club. A fun filled event for children of all ages at 1:10pm . More information: http://www.thephoenixclub.com/?upcoming-event=kinderkarneval

25. February 2017German School Campus in Newport Beach celebrates from 4pm-6pm at the Youth Center Newport Sea Base, 1931 West Coast Why, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Please make a reservation:
                                                                                            Age group: 7 to 18                                                                                                 
GERMAN SCHOOL campus: (949) – 229 – 7389
Email: mail@GERMANSCHOOLcampus.com
Age group: 4 to 6
Ute’s KinderSchule: (949) – 786 – 3877
Email: UtesKinderSchule@gmail.com
For more information: http://germanschoolcampus.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/karneval-flyer-2017.pdf

25 February 2017 The German International School of Silicon Valley (GISSV)’s East Bay campus invites people of all ages to explore not only a new school location in Emeryville but also celebrate the beloved Karneval tradition with them!
Start out with an Open House at 11 am, then join in the German Family Karneval in the Bay Area at 1pm.
1070 41st Street, Emeryville
11 am – 1 pm: Open House
1 – 5 pm: Karneval
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/GISSV-Family-Karneval-313153975557456/?pnref=story

25 February 2017 – GASA German American School Association’s    will have GASA Board member Susan Navarro and her husband act as this year’s Prinzenpaar of the Anaheim Karnevalsgesellschaft. Please join them at the Prunksitzung in the Pavilion at the Phoenix Club, featuring German satire, comedy, music & dancing, performances by the Prinzengarde, skits, laughter and fun. Saturday evening, at 7 pm, at the Phonenix Club in Anaheim.                    Address: 1340 S Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806. Admisssion is free.

…and what concerns those delicious Krapfen? We got word that Old World Huntington Beach has fresh ones daily, and Esther’s German Bakery in Los Altos serves them as well!

Helau!


Credits: Pixabay.com

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