Category Archives: Cultural Happenings

It’s Carnival Season. Find your ‘Faschings’ Party in California

It’s the month of the fools! It’s Carnival!

Germany and beyond is in Carnival Fever. No, not to worry, it’s not a dangerous virus causing this outbreak. Though, it can be contagious!

Dancing, masquerades, and political satire are high in season. No-one is safe in this public outbreak of having-a-fun-time. Most of the bigger cities in German-speaking countries have big events planned for the next couple of weeks. Even smaller communities know how to pay proper tribute to ‘Fasching’.

Kids are looking forward to Carnival all year-long. It’s their time to be Spiderman or a queen for the day, and dress up as their favorite character. In fact, until Halloween had conquered Germany, Fasching somewhat resembled Halloween “German style”, at least in respect to wearing costumes.

And then, February 14th comes, and it’s all over! At least this year…

All the fun is suddenly over on February 14th this year! However, not because of Valentine’s Day. 🙂  This year, 2018, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday share the same date and Ash Wednesday rings in the Season of Lent. For many Christians around the world, Lent is a time of fasting in preparation for Easter. Carnival is over until next year!

So party your heart out, before it’s too late! To help you find a suitable event we have listed a few that were mentioned to us:

Fasching for Children:

GermanSchoolCampus – Newport Beach:
February 10 Carnival Party at German School Campus for young and old from 4pm – 6pm (Free Event)

German American School Association (GASA) at the PhoenixClub – Anaheim
February 11th – Kinderkarneval with Youth Dance Group. Event in the Ball Room at 1pm, (Free Event)

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool – Los Angeles:
February 11th – Fasching At the WirtshausLA, 345 N La Brea Avenue , 3pm-6pm

Karneval for Adults:

Phoenix Club – Anaheim (SoCal)
February 10th – Karneval – Auf der Reeperbahn with Edmonton Blauen Funken, 7:00 pm . Admission: $5/person

Karneval/Mardi Gras/Fasching Costume Ball in Marin County (NorCal)
February 10th -Hosted by Hermann Sons Petaluma Lodge, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma .Doors open 6:00 p.m., Dancing 7:00 p.m. Admission: $25/person

Image: Pixabay.com


 

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Berlin and Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco: Feb 9-15, 2018

BEUYS ©zeroonefilm | bpk | Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung |Stiftung Museum Schloss Moyland | UteKlophaus

Listen Up, Everyone! Berlin & Beyond – The German Film Festival is Coming to Town

On Friday, 09 February 2018, the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, presented annually by the Goethe- Institut San Francisco, will kick off its 22nd year at San Francisco’s historic and iconic Castro Theatre (February 9th-11th). Expect red carpet premieres, with actors and filmmakers in attendance, along with screenings – for the first time – at Landmark Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley on February 12th, and at the auditorium of the Goethe-Institut in Downtown San Francisco from February 13th-15th.

With an annual attendance of more than 10,000 film-goers, the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been the leading festival of contemporary German cinema in the Americas since 1996, and has presented more than 500 motion pictures, along with the presence of celebrated film figures, including Fatih Akin, Moritz Bleibtreu, Daniel Brühl, Hannelore Elsner, Florian David Fitz, Bruno Ganz, Maria Schrader, Barbara Sukowa, and Wim Wenders.

WELCOME TO GERMANY (WILLKOMMEN BEI DEN HARTMANNS) © Warner Bros Entertainment

The opening night film, Welcome to Germany (Willkommen bei den Hartmanns), begins at 6:30pm on Friday, 09 February 2018 (a Northern California premiere). In the film, a well-off Munich family offers boarding to Diallo, a refugee from Nigeria. Their lives are tested when they have to face racism, bureaucracy, and terror suspicions because of him. A timely social comedy, Welcome to Germany, was the highest grossing German film at the local box office in 2016 and first part of 2017 with more than 3.5 million admissions. The film’s Writer and Director, Simon Verhoeven, will be in attendance.

THE BLOOM OF YESTERDAY (DIE BLUMEN VON GESTERN) © Edith Held/DOR FILM-WEST/Four Minutes Filmproduktion/DOR Film

The festival’s Centerpiece Film, The Bloom of Yesterday (Die Blumen von Gestern), directed by Chris Kraus, will enjoy its San Francisco Premiere at 6:30pm on Saturday, Feb 10th at the Castro Theater. In this film starring: Lars Eidinger, Adèle Haenel, Jan Josef Liefers, and Hannah Herzsprung a Holocaust scholar (who is secretly the grandson of a Nazi war criminal), takes on an intern who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust victim. The mismatched pair bond over familial legacies and stumble towards romance.

Lars Eidinger (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria), who plays Totila Blumen, will be in attendance.

EGON SCHIELE: DEATH AND THE MAIDEN (EGON SCHIELE: TOD UND MÄDCHEN) © Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion

Also celebrating a San Francisco premiere is the Castro closing night film, Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden (Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen), directed by Dieter Berner, and starring Noah Saavedra, Maresi Riegner, Valerie Pachner, and Marie Jung.

This film takes us to the beginning of the 20th century when Egon Schiele was one of the most provocative artists in Vienna. His life and work are driven by beautiful women and an era that is coming to an end. Two women will have a lasting impact on him – his sister and first muse Gerti, and 17-year-old Wally, arguably Schiele’s one true love, immortalized in his famous painting “Death and the Maiden”. Schiele’s radical paintings scandalize Viennese society, and Schiele is also prepared to sacrifice love and life for his art.

The Castro closing night film will screen on Sunday, February 11th, at 8:30pm.

Tickets and passes are available online through Brown Paper Tickets, and at select venues. Visit www.berlinbeyond.com to view the film schedule, to purchase tickets, and for more information about the festival and venues, including helpful transit and parking hints!

See you there at #BerlinBeyond22 !

The Venues:
Castro Theater (Feb. 09-11) 429 Castro Street (at Market) San Francisco CA 94114
Landmark Theatres Shattuck Cinemas (Feb. 12) 2230 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
Goethe-Institut Auditorium (Feb. 13-15) 530 Bush Street (street entry, near Grant) San Francisco CA 94108

CREDITS: Images Courtesy Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, Photo Copyrights (see underneath images):  ©Warner Bros Entertainment, ©Edith Held/DOR FILM-WEST/Four Minutes Filmproduktion/DOR Film, ©Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion

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Christopher Chin is an accomplished underwater videographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. He studied German at the University of California, Berkeley, and quickly fell in love with the German language, culture and people. In early 2006, Christopher co-founded The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Christopher is an internationally recognized expert in ocean policy and conservation issues, and has provided valuable and persuasive testimony to various governing and legislative bodies in the U.S. and in Canada, and he has had the privilege of addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on two separate occasions.

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German Theater Workshop for Kids in SoCal

AUFGEPASST ! – ACTORS AND ACTRESSES. LISTEN UP!    

The German American School Association presents a Fairytale Theater Workshop in German at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim!

The theatre workshop offers an interactive theatre program for children ages 6-15 featuring a modern adaptation of the classic fairytale “Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten”.

During this workshop, children are encouraged to try out new ideas and become acquainted with different perspectives. Discovering their own body language helps them to adapt to new roles. Through the development of their own creativity and the joy of play-acting, a world of possibilities opens to them.

Yvonne Zech, actress and trainer with the Galli Theater Group in Wiesbaden, Germany, specializes in educational children’s theater projects and will guide the children through the day-long program.

A Frankfurter lunch is included. (Please pack a lunch if your child has allergies or food restrictions.)

Parents, family, and friends are invited to the final performance later in the afternoon at 5:15pm.

Between the workshop and the performance, a dinner selection will be available for purchase for you and your family. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!
Last day to register is February 15th! Enroll HERE.

Theatre Workshop for Children:
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 10am-4:30pm
WHERE: Phoenix Club, 1340 S Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
PERFORMANCE starts at 5:15 pm

Image: Pixabay.com

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GSC Banner 2017 August-OctoberFinal

On the Couch with Sigmund Freud – “Freud’s Last Session” at the Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles

Odyssey Theatre in Los Angles opens the 2018 season with a thought provoking theatre play. “Freud’s Last Session” takes on the ever-present question of God’s existence.

We all have heard of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. While Freud is world known as the father of psychoanalysis and his book Interpretations of Dreams, everyone is familiar with C.S.Lewis’ series of fantasy novels The Chronicles of Narnia.

But who is the real human being behind each one of the two acclaimed personalities? Do we know Freud or Lewis, even if we claim to understand their philosophical teachings and theories as well as their academic and personal convictions?

In “Freud’s Last Session”, Author Mark St. Germain is trying to give us a glimpse into the human side of these two brilliant minds. He effectively ‘spices up’ their academic debate with each one’s very own personal biases and hang-ups.

Be prepared for an intense battle of opinions and convincing words as you witness a verbal power fight between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis that is spiked with humor and wit.

The play imagines a meeting between these two influential minds on Sept. 3, 1939, the day when England entered WW II and just two weeks before Freud took his own life. Their conversation about the greatest question of all time is going beyond Freud’s psychoanalytical and atheist theories and Lewis’ Christian beliefs.

We learn that Lewis just recently converted back to the Christian faith after having been an atheist for much of his life. Freud, for whom “the concept of God is ludicrous”, can’t fathom how a man of Lewis’ intellect would have ever abandoned ‘the truth’ [atheism] only to become a devout Christian. He is mocking Lewis for his St. Paul-like conversion.

Freud, who had to witness one of his daughters and a grandchild die, who was forced to leave his home after Hitler occupied Austria, and who is suffering through the advanced stages of oral cancer, questions the existence of a God, seeing only a world full of pain and a dictator, like Hitler, trying to destroy humanity. Lewis tries to make sense of it all by mentioning that “history is filled with monsters” and that evil is necessary to bring out the good and to help restore balance.

During the play each of the two debaters finds himself sitting on Freud’s couch as both try to psychoanalyze each other. They find out that they share a deep disdain for their father. Freud hereafter insists that Lewis’ converting back to Christianity can be blamed solely on the blatant search for the ideal father figure. But Lewis cleverly counterattacks stating that Freud seems to detest God as he detests his father.

Throughout the play, death is a persistent constant making the question of God’s existence ever more relevant. While Freud struggles visibly with the actual signs of death by suffering through the last stages of cancer, Lewis is reminded of its presence by the immediacy of England entering WW II. A fact that revives memories of terror in him of the time when he served as a soldier in WW I, in which he was wounded and lost his best friend.

Freud and Lewis bid each other goodbye at last with Lewis saying, “My idea of God. It constantly changes. …Still, I feel the world is crowded with Him.”  Freud sends Lewis on his way stating that if Lewis was right [with his Christian faith], “We will see each other again” but if he [Freud] was right, they would never find out!

“Freud’s Last Session” is a play that is carried solely by the conversations of two characters. It lives of the words and interpretations of only two actors. Not an easy thing to do.

Both, Martin Rayner as Sigmund Freud and Martyn Stanbridge as C.S. Lewis do an excellent job bringing the characters to life. Particularly Rayner as Freud vividly displays what Freud must have gone through in his last days of life. One is simply united in pain with him when Freud (Rayner) suffers through his agonizing coughing attacks.

“Freud’s Last Session” is another excellent production by the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble that encourages its audience to continue the conversation beyond the theater’s walls.

We surely left the play with a mind busy with self-reflection and making sense of our own existence. …A good exercise to start out the new year!

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“Freud’s Last Session” written by Mark St, Germain, directed by Emmy Award-winner Robert Mandel plays at the Odyssey Theatre from January 13th – March 4th, 2018.

Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, Jan. 24; Thursday, Feb. 8; Wednesday, Feb. 21; and Thursday, March 1, all at 8 p.m.

  • Tickets: $30 to $35;
  • Tix for $10” performances are on Wednesday, Jan. 24; Friday, Feb. 2; and Thursday, March 1.
  • Talkbacks with the cast follow the performances on Friday, Jan. 19 and Wednesday, Jan. 24.
  • Wine night at the Odyssey: Enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show on the third Friday of every month.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Images depicting Martin Rayner and Martyn Stanbridge
Photos by Enci Box,  ©Odyssey Theatre

3 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve German Style – It’s ‘Silvester’!

Three Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve German Style 

1 – FIREWORKS 

What 4th of July is for the American that’s New Year’s Eve or ‘Silvester’ for the German – at least, measured by the number of fireworks that go into the air that night. And that means fireworks galore! Every family is sure to sport some kind of firework and many have fireworks that would be called illegal in California, like skyrockets. (illegal fireworks in California include all that “…go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner”) In Germany, they are allowed. Unfortunately every year the press reports incidents of severe accidents because of them. 

2 – BLEIGIESSEN / Lead Pouring

This is a most favorite custom that lets the Germans play fortune teller on New Year’s Eve. Originally, small chunks of lead are melted in a spoon over the flame of a candle. As soon as the lead is liquid you pour the molten lead into a bowl of cold water where the lead will take on various shapes. These ’frozen” shapes will be interpreted to tell a person’s fate for the upcoming new year. As you can imagine this makes for a great topic of conversation.  One can buy lead pouring kits for this particular custom but many families use also wax instead of lead since it is safer.

3 – “DINNER FOR ONE” –

Now, this is a very special tradition for Germans. A tradition that literally doesn’t sound German at all! But it’s one, that is not to be missed and in fact, it is all over the TV channels all night long. We are talking about “Dinner for One” which is actually a comedy sketch in English! Yet, Germans can’t get enough of this 18-minute sketch and love watching it during every new year’s eve celebration. We have it posted for you right below:

“Same procedure as every year!”

We wish everyone a Happy New Year! –

Wir wünschen einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!