Category Archives: Attractions & Events

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

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‘The Red Dress’ – Politics and Love in Germany Between the Wars

‘The Red Dress’ (Tania Wisbar)- Odyssey Theatre

‘The Red Dress’ – A World Premiere at The Odyssey Theatre In Los Angeles

Last weekend we were treated to a compelling and thought-provoking play at the Odyssey Theatre in LA. ‘The Red Dress’ by Tania Wisbar left us thinking and drawing parallels to the times we live in today.

‘The Red Dress’, a romantic drama set in Berlin, explores the intersection of politics and art during the years between the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of Fascism (1924-1936).

Alexandra Schiele (Laura Liguori) is a famous film actress from a prominent Jewish family who falls in love with a down-on-his-luck World War I vet, Franz Weitrek (J.B. Waterman). Franz is able to parlay his wife’s connections into work as a film director. But when his career takes off making Nazi propaganda films, his wife suddenly becomes a liability. Also in the cast are Rebecca Larsen, Shanti Reinhardt and Dylan Wittrock. Kiff Scholl directs.

The play intelligently taps into personal emotions and tensions caused by the political and social changes during the turbulent years before the rise of Nazism. It touches on the Eugenics Movement as well as some of the horrific actions the National Socialist Party of Hitler was known for. The excellent cast helps with the intensity of some scenes to create suspense throughout the whole play. The scenes spanning quite a few years in history are pulled together by sequences of historical movies and music from the particular eras.

The historical setting of ‘The Red Dress’ around the time of Hitler’s rising might imply a story we all know only too well. Yes, we have heard similar stories before, and, true, we learned about Hitler in school and watched this dark part of history on TV and the movies.

Yet, this play’s story is different! It explores and tries to make sense of why Germany lost its way. It’s different than anything you’ve read because experiencing the play unfold in front of your eyes in a small theatre setting, where one is intimately connected with the actors and their fate, brings about quite a different dimension to it all. The story, yet perhaps not entirely new, brings forth several new facets and lets us rediscover and see many ‘known’ facts from a different angle. Suddenly an ‘old’ story in many ways doesn’t feel outdated anymore.

In fact, the playwright Tania Wisbar leaves her audience with a message of urgency and relevance for today. One can’t shake off some of the lines just heard during the play. They seem to claim validation also in the period of history we are living in. Wisbar might want to remind us that something like we just saw on stage, could happen again if we are not vigilant enough.

Tania Wisbar, who was inspired by her own family history to write ‘The Red Dress’, succeeded in creating a very timely piece considering the uprising of recent nationalist right-wing movements all over the world.

Performances of ‘The Red Dress’, a world premiere presented by Argyle Road Productions, take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., from Oct. 28 through Nov. 19.

All tickets are $30 (reserved seating). The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, (323) 960-5521 or go to www.Plays411.com/reddress

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Photo Credit: Laura Liguori (Alexandra Schiele) and Dylan Wittrock (Officer Dieter Keller) – Photo by Ed Krieger                                                                        Image: Odyssey Theatre Los Angeles


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O’zapft is! Find Your Oktoberfest in California

This Saturday, September 16th, it’s official: It’s Oktoberfest Time!

At 12 noon (CET), Munich’s mayor will tap the first Oktoberfest-beer-barrel and exclaim “O’zapft is” !  And the ‘world’s largest beer festival’ can begin!

But you don’t have to fly to Munich to get into Oktoberfest mood. We have quite a few choices to celebrate Oktoberfest here in California, too. If you live in Northern California or Southern California, you for sure will find some Oktoberfest festivity even close by your neighborhood.

We highlighted a few ‘Oktoberfests’, that we thought might peak your interest.  Check them out below!


Souther California

PHOENIX CLUB – Anaheim SoCal

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The Phoenix Club in Anaheim features Orange County’s oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest.  OKTOBERFEST 2017 will take place every weekend Sept 22-Oct 29!

Join the party and enjoy authentic delicious German food (including Schweinshaxen and bread dumpling), Great selection of Imported German beer on tap, Polkas and Prosts in our 12,000 sq. ft. Festzelt and an acre of Biergarten. “We will have you Partying like a German!”

Traditional bands play every day!  Our Schuhplattler perform Saturdays and Sundays. The special events on the first weekend include the Official Keg Tapping Ceremony and the Opening Parade.

SHOOTING GALLERY: Our Phoenix Schützen (traditional air rifle club) will have their rifle range open to the public on Saturdays (6:00 PM) and Sundays (1:00 PM) Oct. 1 – Oct 29.

PONY RIDES: Our Neighbors at the Del Rio Stables and Equestrian Center will host $5.00 Pony Rides for the kids all Sundays in October.·         

Choo-Choo: Sundays are family days, free choo-choo rides noon to 4pm, free balloon artist one noon to 4pm

ADMISSION:  $10  -Adults on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Phoenix Club members with card $5 –  under 18 enter FREE!

WHEN: Sept. 22 – Oct 29, 2017

WHERE: 1340 S. Sanderson Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

Special Music Entertainment: Various bands will perform. The local band The Express Band, Alt Rosenheim Schuhplattler and Goassischalzer from Bavaria, Germany; Musikapelle Rottenbuch from Bavaria, Germany and Odenwäder Dirndljaeger from Bavaria, Germany


Oktoberfest at JEANETTE’s EDELWEISS in Newbury Park

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Jeanette’s Edelweiss is starting Oktoberfest the original way. Like in Munich also here Oktoberfest is rung in by the official tapping of the first beer keg. Instead of the mayor of Munich it will be the Consul General of Germany, Joerg Neumann, who will perform the traditional ceremony on Saturday, September 16 at 4pm.

Oktoberfest Season at Jeanette’s Edelweiss will be from 9/16/17 – 10/29/17 and Jeanette’s Edelweiss Polka Band will play polka and authentic German Oktoberfest tunes. Live Oktoberfest Tunes and International Music with Festmeister Hans & Accordion Diva Gigi will be part of it as well. Prepare yourself for lot’s of dancing, fun & Oktoberfest games and the following seasonal events:

Every FRI & SAT – 5 pm: Munich style Oktoberfest Party with Fun, Games and Live Music by the Jeanette’s Edelweiss Polka Band featuring Festmeister Hans.

Every Sunday 4 pm: Family Fun Oktoberfest. Kids Oktoberfest with Gigi & Festmeister Hans. Games & Fun for the family.

Every Thursday 5 pm: Oktoberfest Party!

Besides Oktoberfest entertainment be ready for a real German culinary feast. Jeanette’s Edelweiss features authentic German cuisines by renowned German Chef Rocco Suckert from Cologne, Germany. Everything from German brats, Schnitzel, Sauberbraten, Ham Hocks, Rouladen and of course Pretzels and Gingerbread hearts can be yours! And you’ll have the choice of 12 imported German beers on draft.

WHEN: Sept.16 – Oct. 29, 2017

WHERE: 2160A Newbury Road, Newbury Park

Admission: FREE  – But Advanced Reservations are Recommended!  Reserve your table: info@JeanettesEdelweiss.com (or 805-498-7300).


EL CAJON Oktoberfest – San Diego County’s oldest and most traditional Oktoberfest

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The German American Societies of San Diego invite to their yearly traditional Oktoberfest! Two weekends full of authentic foods and original entertainment.

Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, pretzels, and a variety of German pastries. There will be  a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family!

Listen to the original group “The Guggenbach-Buam”, who came all the way out from Baden-Württemberg, Germany. These talented, entertaining musicians dress in traditional clothing, and play a variety of German music, just as you would hear in the beer gardens in Bavaria. Enjoy songs such as the chicken dance, polkas and waltzes, and all the famous beer-drinking tunes. 

Watch traditional folk dancing performances, compete in our numerous games and contests, check out vendor and craft booths, and treat your kids to their own Kids’ Zone! Bring your family and friends to El Cajon and experience a real German Oktoberfest!

Admission:   $10 Friday and Saturdays; $5 Sundays.

WHEN:  Sept. 29, 30 and October 1 & October 6, 7 and 8, 2017

WHERE: German American Societies, 1017 S. Mollison Avenue, El Cajon, 92020


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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Oktoberfest at ESTHER’s GERMAN BAKERY in Palo Alto

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Esther’s German Bakery is celebrating  its 10th annual Oktoberfest !

Oktoberfest – Kick off is around noon on Saturday, September 30th.

Outside on the front patio you’ll see the food tent serving the Oktoberfest menu and plenty of tables for trying the seasonal Oktoberfest beers.  If you like more shade, check out our ‘Biergarten’  in the back.

For entertainment Esther’s German Bakery will have a favorite local German band playing festival songs from 3:00 – 8:00pm. Traditional German beer games are on the plan all night long. Come and meet some neighbors and celebrate Oktoberfest the traditional way!

On Sunday, in case you missed Saturday’s main event, the bakery will be hosting their Hangover Brunch. Both the front patio and back biergarten will be open. It’ll be back to the daily menu then, but you’ll still have plenty of seasonal beer choices and tasty German treats, and German music will of course welcome you inside. Make it an Oktoberfest weekend!!!

WHEN: Oktoberfest Day is on Saturday Sept.30 with the ‘Hangover Brunch’ following Oct. 1, 2017

WHERE: 987 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Entrance: Free


SCHUG WINERY – SONOMA – The Oktoberfest serving wine!

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Beer is not your thing, but you love wine? Try the Oktoberfest (Wine-Fest) at Schug Winery in Sonoma. Owned by a German family, Schug Winery is proud to invite to an Oktoberfest of their own kind. The winery was founded by Walter Schug, who came to CA in the 60’s to make wine European style.

Overlooking the Sonoma Valley you’ll be sipping Federweißer and enjoy plenty of traditional Oktoberfest entertainment. Get ready for Polka and accordion music, raffles for adults and children, a photo booth, Bean Bag Toss and more, while indulging on German specialties like Zwiebelkuchen, German cucumber salad, potato salad, German apple strudel, sausages, and of course fresh pretzels.

Children will love the Arts & Crafts tables and will go home with a free pumpkin! Special: Polkageist West is lined up for our live music.

WHEN: Sept 30 from 11am- 3:30pm

WHERE: 602 Bonneau Road in Sonoma, CA 95476.

Entrance: $50 (kids 12 and under free!)   – Ticket link : http://www.schugwinery.com/


OAKLAND NATURE FRIENDS – Oktoberfest 2017

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Die Naturfreunde Oakland invite to their yearly Oktoberfest in Oakland on October 1st, 2017!

It’s their biggest festival of the year!  So, get ready for fun Oktoberfest entertainment while taking in stunning views of the Bay area. Authentic German food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase throughout the day.

Entertainment:

MUSIC & DANCING: The Bajuk Trio with the Schuhplattler Dancers performing a variety of German and Austrian folk dances. Music starts at 1pm. Let your dance out!

OTHER ACTIVITIES: horseshoes | board games | candy roulette | playground | or just lounge in our alpine-style sun chairs soaking up the wunderbaren views of the SF Bay!

ADMISSION: $15 per adult (free for kids under 14). (Discount code “earlybird” available for a limited time.)

BUY TICKETS online or show up early to ensure entry!

PLEASE BRING CASH: Cash is the preferred method of payment. We do not accept debit cards or checks at the Oakland Nature Friends Club on the day of the event. There is no ATM on the premises.

PARKING: Parking in the ONF lot is free but fills up quickly so arrive early. However, there is plenty of additional parking on Joaquin Miller Drive. We provide a free shuttle bus service (1PM to 5PM every 15 minutes) that will drive guests from the intersection of Butters and Joaquin Miller (near the fire station) to the festival grounds and back again. 


MORE OKTOBERFEST:

Placerville Oktoberfest – Sacramento

Come Dance Zee Polka at the 7th Annual Placerville Oktoberfest on Historic Main Street Placerville

Placerville, CA, September 8, 2017—Come dance zee polka at the 7th Annual Placerville Oktoberfest on historic Main Street in Placerville on Saturday, September 16th from 3-8pm—presented by the Placerville Downtown Association.

WHEN: September 16th, 2017

Entrance : FREE


Oktoberfest at GACC – German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco 

For the fifth time the German American Chamber of Commerce will bring Germany’s most famous fest to the Bay Area.

Enjoy a night of delicious German food andOktoberfest beer, provided by Ludwig’s German Table.   Blow Musik! will set the right tone with their traditional Bavarian polkas and our headliner Bayern Maiden will rock the house once more!

WHEN: September 28th, 2017, 5pm-10pm
WHERE: Fort Mason, San Francisco

Admission: Buy your ticket online 


 Oktoberfest at Los Lagos Golf Course
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LLGC in partnership with Gordon Biersch is bringing Munich’s famed festival to the San Jose community for all to enjoy!!  Live German music, dancing, traditional food, and beer!
Band: The Deutscher Musikverein  (SFgermanband.org)
WHEN:Saturday, October 14, 2017, 05:00pm – 09:00pm
WHERE: Los Lagos Golf Course, 2995 Tuers Road, San Jose, CA 95121
ADMISSION: $20.00 includes food, 2 beer samplers, and music! Tickets online at www.playloslagos.com under Event Registration.

Enegren Brewing Oktoberfest in Moorpark
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Enegren Brewing Co. features authentic German Food with BIGGER BETTER PRETZELS and German music all day long with the German band Hazelnuss-Das Music .  Make sure to get there early for the official barrel tapping of our Oktoberfest Märzen Lager and to get your limited edition steins!
WHEN: Saturday October 7th: 11am – 10pm
WHERE: 444 Zachary St, #120, Moorpark, CA 93021
ADMISSION: Free

Oktoberfest in Downtown Los Angeles

Oktoberfest DTLA is not your traditional Oktoberfest. You’ll find local breweries and California beers, but you can also still grab an authentic German Beer from Paulaner, the #1 Oktoberfest beer in the world! Food varies from traditional bratwursts and pretzels to Thai-Mexican fusion.  Lot’s of music entertainment: Music ranges from awesome local bands like The Tom Nolan Band and rockabilly groups to beat boxers, with Hazelnuss Das Music band closing both nights to get everyone dancing to some awesome Oktoberfest tunes.

WHEN: October 21 & 22, 2017 (12pm -18pm)

WHERE: Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

ADMISSION: General admission is Free, and all ages are welcome. Tasting packages will be available for sale, but you’re free to come and just enjoy the music as well.


Oktoberfest at Old World Huntington Beach

WHEN: Sept. 10 – Oct. 29, 2017

WHERE: 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach

Admission: $7-$25 tickets online or at the door


Oktoberfest at Alpine Village Torrance

WHEN: Sept 8 – Oct 28, 2017

WHERE: 833 W Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90502

Admission: $10- $60 tickets online or at the door


Images: Copyright ©All Images are property of the respective organization, Phoenix Club, Jeanette’s Edelweiss, German American Societies of San Diego, Esther’s German Bakery, Schug Winery, Oakland Nature Friends.

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Last Days of Summer. Catch’em While You Can!

First day of September…and summer is over. Well, not officially. While the real change of season is still a few weeks away, I am sure you can sense a slight change in the air already, too.

Come Labor Day, and summer is clearly turning into just a warm memory. Schools are back in session, most of us are back at work and beaches are blissfully empty.

Pretty soon it’s Oktoberfest time rather than beach time. Yes, Oktoberfest season starts in California already as early as September 8th!

Before saying good-bye to summer 2017, treasure these last few nights of warmth and sunshine.

Should you spend time at Universal Studios this Labor Day weekend, don’t leave the theme park before you have seen the magical light show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is really mesmerizing!


Image & Video Credits: ©CaliforniaGermans


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Body Worlds: PULSE – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

 

Gunther von hagens’ Body Worlds: ‘Pulse’ – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

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Feeling somewhat uneasy we were standing in front of the California Science Center recently, ready to enter Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibition “PULSE”. We have prepared ourselves well and read almost anything available out there about the show, about Gunther von Hagens, his plastination process and about the process of putting the show together here at the CaliforniaScienceCenter.

Since we had our teenage son with us we wanted to make sure that he as well as us completely understood what we were about to experience. My husband in fact was very hesitant at first about bringing him along since the show’s displays contain bodies of deceased humans that went through Gunther von Hagens invented preservation process called plastination.

All our worries however were put to rest very quickly upon entering this amazing show.

Gunther von Hagen’s Body Worlds PULSE – an incredible journey through your body

Right at the beginning of the show you are greeted by a movie that totally hit home with us.It demonstrates how our busy lives have a profound effect on the quality of our lives, making us receptive to all kinds of modern diseases: high blood pressure, obesity, depression, you name it. Too much stimulation and an overload of information that we modern human beings are constantly exposed to puts our modern life under a lot of stress and finally at risk. The speed that forces us to do more, better and faster becomes increasingly more inhuman.

This movie is the preamble to a rewarding show that explains in detail what is essential for us to keep our bodies healthy and functional.  Ultimately it encourages us to think about how we can develop a healthier pace of life for ourselves.

Impressive displays, exceptional information and in-depth videos guide you along the journey through your body.

The entrance to the various displays starts with one of Gunther von Hagens plastinated bodies holding his skin folded over his arm like an overcoat. Info boards teach you about the skin being our heaviest and largest organ that has vital functions. Next the visitor learns about the skeleton and sees first hand how fractures, implants and prostheses look like. As you move along “through the body” you’ll learn about the central nervous system and see stunning displays.

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In one von Hagen isolated a whole body’s central and peripheral nervous system and instead of a traditional skeleton one sees a “skeleton of nerves”. Amazing!

The various muscles in our bodies are a topic of one section, other sections are dedicated to each of our organs, to nutrition and to the demonstration of what certain diseases do to our body. From heart to intestines to liver and lung and more… you get to know your body inside out!

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A big section is dedicated to the heart explaining its difficult and intensive job. With the help of videos and informational boards we learn how a heart attack builds up within our body far before it actually happens.

The impact of smoking is impressively presented with a shockingly pitch black smokers lung on display that looks like a lava rock. This particular display like so many others certainly make you think about how you are treating your own body and how it may look like if exposed like these displays.

Speaking about the displays. Our initial worry was about our reaction to the plastinated bodies. Gunther van Hagens’ invention of preserving the human body and his quite artistic displays have been quite controversial for years. Many were initially appalled just by the pure fact that these displays were actually showing deceased humans.

We found that the whole show including the displays were put together and presented very esthetically. We were intrigued and captivated throughout. I can’t think of any other exhibit that brings you in such close encounter with your own body. We were awed and so were many other visitors we observed. From families with much younger children than our son, to a group of doctors, who were teaching their college class right on site.

In conclusion I can only say that we were absorbed by this exhibition and didn’t feel time going by. There was so much to see, explore and learn!

Body Worlds: PULSE is on display at the CaliforniaScienceCenter through February 20, 2018 .

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Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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