Category Archives: Cultural Happenings

Beethoven’s Ninth with Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl- July 13 & 18

The whole world is widely familiar with the impressive start of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, which is probably the most distinctive four-note motif in music history. Beethovens 9th symphony however is considered Beethoven’s greatest work, if not “the greatest compositions in the western musical canon”.

It is Beethoven’s final complete composition and one, in which voices are being used in a symphony for the very first time. Hence the name “Choral Symphony”. The famous “Ode to Joy”, which follows a poem by Friedrich Schiller, is known all over the world, but it has a much deeper meaning for us Germans. I may say it has become somehow part of our German National Anthem. Especially since the German public radio station Deutschlandfunk has been broadcasting “Ode to Joy” together with the official German National Anthem (“Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”) shortly before midnight since New Year’s Eve 2006.”

But Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is also used as the anthem of the European Union and stands with the other European symbols for the whole of Europe. It also serves as the theme song to the European qualifying of the 2018 World Cup football competition.

On July 13 or 18, you can experience Beethoven’s epic Ninth Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl! Dudamel’s all-consuming love of music drives him to invest every note with meaning and new life. Don’t miss it when he leads Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the first piece he performed as Music Director of the LA Phil.

Tickets are on sale now! http://bit.ly/hb17_Calendar_Beethovenninth 

One lucky CaliforniaGermans reader will have the opportunity to receive One Voucher valid for two guests. The voucher is good for two tickets to a variety of Hollywood Bowl concerts!

Here is how to get the voucher: – All you need to do is send us an email to : californiagermans [at] gmail.com , and put in the subject line: “I am ready for my Hollywood Bowl Voucher”

The first CaliforniaGermans writing us an email as described above, will receive one voucher that is good for two tickets for a variety of Hollywood Bowl concerts not only Beethoven’s 9th Symphony!


Sources: wikipedia, Deutsche Welle,

Credits: LA PHIL

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It’s Father’s Day in the USA – Vatertag in the USA

Today is Father’s Day here in America. This day of honorig all Dads is celebrated in the USA every year on the third Sunday in June, almost a month later than in Germany!

In Germany, Father’s Day – ‘Vatertag’ coincides with the church holiday of ‘Christi Himmelfahrt’ (Ascension of Jesus). It’s a national holiday and it’s always happening on a Thursday since the Ascension of Jesus is celebrated 39 days after Easter Sunday.

Interestingly, not all German speaking countries are celebrating Father’s Day on the same day. Austria for example has its Father’s Day on the second Sunday in June, while Switzerland initially didn’t have a dedicated Father’s Day until 2009. Since then the official Swiss Father’s Day is happening on the first Sunday in June.

How is Father’s Day celebrated in Germany? It used to be or often still is a day, on which fathers/men celebrate themselves and enjoy each other’s company in fact without family and children! In North Germany and East Germany, Father’s Day tellingly is called ‘Herrentag’ (Day of the Men) .

But more and more young families nowadays celebrate Father’s Day pretty much the same like we do here in the United Sates and make it a day with the family. I personally remember Father’s Day being a day for and with my Dad.

While Father’s Day has been an official holiday in Germany since 1934, the United States’ first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in the State of Washington; however it wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became a permanent national holiday in the USA.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! 

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Image: Pixabay.com


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Pfingsten (Pentecost) – A Holiday Observed in Germany

“Pfingstrose”

Today is ‘Pfingstsonntag’ (Pentecost Sunday) and unless you attend a church service you most likely won’t know about it. Unlike Germany, the US doesn’t observe this day as a holiday.  In Germany on the other hand even ‘Pfingstmontag’ (the Monday following Pentecost Sunday) is part of the holiday and offices, markets etc. are closed.

For us as children growing up in Germany, ‘Pfingsten’ meant starting a two-week vacation and once ‘Pfingstferien’, Pentecost vacation, was over, we knew the end of the school year was near as well. ‘Pfingsten’ with its warmer and sunnier weather rang in the summer for us, even if the date didn’t coincide with the official date of the summer solstice.

Commonly used expressions that incorporate ‘Pfingsten’ are the ‘Pfingstochse’ and the ‘Pfingstrose’. A ‘Pfingstochse’ we call someone, who is far overdressed and seems to be adorned like the ox, that was leading its herd to the green pastures in the mountains for the first time in the year and, as part of this tradition, was festively adorned with bows, bells and such.

‘Pfingstrose’ is the flower ‘peony’ in English. Even though not actually a rose the ‘Pfingstrose’ is reminiscent of a rose in its beauty and color, and most of the time starts flowering just about the time when Pentecost is happening.

Frohe Pfingsten!

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Image: ©CaliforniaGermans


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“FUTURE OR PAST? CLIMATE POLICY AS DRIVER FOR MODERN ECONOMIES” – Environmental Forum with Barbara Hendricks at Stanford Woods Institute

Please join the Stanford Woods Institute Environmental Forum with Barbara Hendricks, the German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Hendricks Flyer

Barbara Hendricks has been Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety since December 2013. Before that she served as the federal treasurer of the German Social Democratic Party. From 1998 to 2007, she was a Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of Finance. Since 1994, Barbara Hendricks, who has a doctorate in history, has represented her home district of Kleve in the German Bundestag.

Reception to follow.

More information can be found at: https://woods.stanford.edu/news-events/event/woods-environmental-forum-future-or-past-climate-policy-driver-modern-economics

For questions, please contact Mollie Field at mfield1[AT]stanford.edu.

DATE AND TIME

Wed, May 17, 2017 at 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)

LOCATION

Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is working toward a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while protecting and nurturing the planet. As the university’s hub of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, the Stanford Woods Institute is the go-to place for Stanford faculty, researchers and students to collaborate on environmental research. Their interdisciplinary work crosses sectors and disciplines, advancing solutions to the most critical, complex environmental and sustainability challenges.

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German May Celebrations in California are Underway

As Germans we are familiar with May 1st as the “Tag der Arbeit”. It’s a National Holiday in Germany and it’s often times also a day filled with protests and demonstrations in the bigger cities. The Union (Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund) is organizing rallies on that day to commemorate the achievements in the labor movement.

But there are also the May 1st traditions that go way back in history like the observation of the Walpurgisnacht (Night of the witches) or the stealing of the village maypole by a neighboring village. I am sure you remember the Maitanz (May Pole Dance). Many of us had to perform one in our Kindergarten years to enchant our parents. I certainly still remember mine or better just the fact that one little boy got terribly entangled in all the bands around the may pole. It’s for sure not as easy a dance as it might look!

Many German clubs and schools in California keep those wonderful traditions alive and invite the public to their annual Maifest (May celebrations).

In the following please find a roundup of what we have heard of:

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Highland Hall Waldorf School invites to their annual May Faire with May Pole Dancing, Native American Pow Wow, Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles and Country Music/Folk Dancing. Lost of Activities are offered as well. There will be live music, storytelling,delectable healthy baked goods and food vendors, exquisite artisan vendors, children’s games, arts and craft-making activities for ALL ages!  Visitors will  be able to enjoy time in our farm, and the Native American Village.

When: Saturday May6 from 10am-4pm , Admission is FREE!

Where: Highland Hall Waldorf School, 17100 Superior Street, Northridge, CA 91325

More Info at http://www.HighlandHallWaldorfMayFaire.com

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The Phoenix Club in Anaheim celebrates its traditional Maifest combined with its Kinderfest on May 7th , 2017. The German American League Clubs will start out the festivities with a parade at 1pm. Lots of activities for children will be offered. Witness the election of the Maikönigin (May Queen)and of course the famous May Pole Dance and much more.

When: Sunday, May 7th from 11am-6pm, Admission $7 (Pre-sale) or $10 at the gate. Children 16 and under are free.

Where: Phoenix club Biergarten, 1340 S. Sanderson Avenue
Anaheim, California 92806

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Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in L.A. has its May Faire Celebration with May Pole Dancing, Music Performances, Puppet Show, Face painting and much more.

When: Saturday, May 20th from 11am-3pm; suggested donation $10

Where: Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool, 3170 Stoner Ave,Los Angeles, CA 90066

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GISSV German International School in Emeryville has its Multicultural Summerfest on May 20, 2017. There will be a Rummage Sale with finds like German books and more. You can enjoy the International Food Festival and Live Music and Activities for kids of all ages, with arts & crafts, woodworking, yoga, soccer and more.

When: Saturday, May 20th, from 1pm-4pm

Where: 1070 41st Street, Emeryville, CA

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Oakland Nature Friends & Tourist Club celebrates its traditional Maifest with Bavarian Schuhplattler Dancers, the Gruber Family Band and German food, beer and dancing. There is something for everyone of all ages at the Maifest!

When: Sunday, May 7th from 12pm-6pm. Admission: Buy tickets online!  (Kids under 14 are free.)

Where: Oakland Nature Friends, 3115 Butters Drive, Oakland, CA 94602

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Sacramento Turn Verein has its 49th annual Bockbierfest! Experience traditional German Folk Dancing, the Alpentanzer Schuhplattler, a traditional German Choir while you enjoy authentic German food and Bockbierfest Bier.

When: Saturday May 6th from 3pm – midnight. Admission: Buy Tickets online!

Where: Sacramento Turn Verein, 3349 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95816


Image: Courtesy of Highland Hall Waldorf School/ Taylor Myers

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