Tag Archives: CaliforniaGermans

Spice Up Your “Fahrvergnügen” – Go Big & Bold With Color

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Car Colors in Germany – All Used to Be Possible

Did it ever occur to you that car colors here in California are quite boring? A recent look at a major shopping mall’s parking lot seems to proof my point…

It almost looks like a car dealership; all white cars on one side and black/dark colors lined up on the other. Pretty subdued, no?

In my childhood, car colors must have gone wild in Germany… At least, I remember our cars having all kinds of vivid colors then. In fact, over the years I would say that we had cars of a pretty broad variety of colors. From a bright red to an ochre Special Jeans Edition” Volkswagen Beetle to a green VW Bug, all the way to a dark violet Mercedes that belonged to my uncle, and my Dad’s lightly linden green 1980’s Mercedes that got replaced by a (boring) silver Benz, to a strikingly yellow Ford and bright metallic blue Peugeot. A kind of gold/beige BMW was in our collection as well… indicating the doom of car colors ahead of us, I assume.

Coming out to California as a teenager, two particular facts regarding cars stood out for me. One was, these monstrous things on wheels roaming California freeways, called Monster Trucks. Second was the fact that the Mercedes Benz here in California had a golden-colored Mercedes star instead of the distinct silver one I was used to from Germany.

That golden Mercedes star together with a golden grill just didn’t cut it for me. It clashed with my image of Mercedes’ sleek elegance conveying a touch of understatement. Everything seemed to be so “bling” in California…

My last car in Germany before moving to California used to be a deep electric blue, but after coming out here I settled for a black one… yes, a boring, black colored SUV! Okay, I admit, not every color goes well with every car model. And the Ford Explorer I had then might not have looked as sharp in electric blue… Besides, at that time, I didn’t want to embarrass my son at his school by standing out with a color that would announce to everyone in the drop-off line that “the Germans” have arrived. We tried to fit in.

But honestly, if you look around you, the cars here in CA make up for a pretty boring car-landscape; from black to white to daring gold or beige/brown, and for the more adventurous type perhaps a dark blue! If you encounter a red, then I am sure it’s some unobtrusive wine/maroon red.

Okay, some Hippie Volkswagen Bus in happy, sunny colors might brighten up the freeway in front of us sometimes, while Ferrari & Co. of course stick out on the streets and call our attention; not only because of their design, but also because they seem to be the only cars these days that dare to put on some bold colors. That’s why, when we see one of them, we have to make sure not to stop breathing since the color alone is taking our breath away!

To my dismay however I found out that the Germans and in fact the Europeans as a whole, are now following the, supposedly fading, American trend towards boring auto colors.

According to AutoBild, the absolute favorite car color of the Germans in 2016 continued to be silver/grey, followed by black and white, and red fell to a sad fifth place. For comparison, in 1986 the color white had not even made it to 2%. Imagine that!

Americans, on the other hand, are on their way to discover (some) color again. While white, black and grey still dominate the top spots, “Blue…” according to the Chicago Tribune, “…is expected to be the hottest car color for 2017!”

I couldn’t confirm this striking trend yet. But, I’ll be for sure keeping an eye out for this splash of color on the streets…!

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Images: CaliforniaGermans & Pixabay.com

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SPARMASSNAHMEN

 Sparmaßnahmen

(Ein Drabble* von Merrill Lyew Emanuel)
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Beim kalifornischen DMV windet sich die Kundenreihe um das Gebäude herum, wie eine dahinkriechende Schlange. Die Beamtin Mary müht sich lustlos hinter dem Tresen ab. Bei jedem Klienten überprüft sie, ob das richtige Formular vorliegt, ob es vollständig ausgefüllt ist, ob der Antrag auf Führerschein rechtens ist. Sie heftet Akten ab, lichtet Passbilder ab, nimmt Fingerdrucke ab.

Apathisch quält sie sich durch die Minuten des Tages, dabei macht sie einen Patzer nach dem anderen. Aufgrund der Sparmassnahmen im Staatshaushalt sind die Planstellen halbiert worden, leere Stellen verbleiben leer. Die Gescheiten finden anderswo leicht einen Job, nur Mary bleibt beim DMV.

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©Merrill Lyew 2016
Image: Pixabay.com
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* WHAT IS a Drabble?  – A drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words.
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Merrill Lyew EmanuelAs a recent retiree, Merrill Lyew Emanuel now has time for his old and new hobbies. Within his hobbies are writing fan fiction in German, solving chess puzzles, repairing things at home that are not broken, doing a little bit of social media, reading every and anything that looks like a book, traveling a little, and taking snapshots with his mirrorless camera.

Having lived in Germany, Costa Rica and the USA, he is fluent in the languages of these countries. As a professional geographer he traveled profusely throughout Latin America. He is living in Southern California for over thirty years. Find more of his work at http://www.merrillius.net

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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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Art Sampling in Los Angeles

Art Walks are calling

These days beautiful Southern California weather and warm temperatures are beckoning us outside. What better time to check out the LA art scene, especially since some great art events are just around the corner.

One is in fact happening tomorrow. The Brewery Art Walk Community opens its doors tomorrow and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. More than 100 participating artists in residence let you experience up close how they live and work. If you see some artwork you like, strike up a conversation with the artist right there and then. At the Brewery Art Walk you are basically breathing art. Anything you can remotely call art, you can find here.

Brewery Art Walk is fun, it’s hip and eclectic! There is a spring and a fall art walk and we used to visit at least one of each every year. The atmosphere is definitely a bit crazy but totally fun and groovy. Even people-watching becomes an adventure.

The famous Venice Art Walk is coming up on May 21st (12pm to 6pm). Contrary to the Brewery Art Walk it is not a free event since the proceeds of the event go to the Venice Family Clinic.  Artists as well as architects are opening their homes and studios to the public and let everyone participate in their creative process. Special Studio tours are often offered and apart from fascinating art you can see some stunning homes. The impressive silent auction features famous names like Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston , Sam Durant and many more.

What’s the atmosphere here? You are walking along the cool Venice community close to the beach with all its restaurants and bars. It’s quite a different setting compared to the Brewery Art Walk which is housed in a previous industrial zone with artists’ lofts in former warehouses. And, yes, people-watching is definitely a must also here… you are in Venice Beach after all!

We started our “art walk season” with last week’s Spring Fling at Bergamot Station. Another art haven, this time in Santa Monica. The venue is easily accessible with LA metro’s Expo Line. If you arrive by car, parking can sometimes become a bit challenging.

The Spring Fling event was a collective Open House of about 30 galleries, welcoming art enthusiasts to check out what’s hot in the contemporary art world. Bergamot Station used to be one of our regular art venues to get our ‘art fix’ quite some years ago. So upon hearing of the spring event we packed up the family and left for LA.

Having not been here for a while I perceived the audience and overall vibe as quite a bit different from the exhilaratingly crazy, creative chaos at the Brewery Art Walk. While still colorful and vibrant the audience seemed to be more on the ‘sophisticated’ side and one could feel that the venue here was managed by various gallery businesses rather than an artist community. But that didn’t mean the art was less intriguing. In fact some of the galleries put on some well curated shows. Walking through Bergamot Station felt more like visiting a bunch of micro museums.

It was quite a coincidence that we stumbled upon the abstract architectural sculptures by German artist, Manfred Müller from Düsseldorf, whose work was featured in a show called “Not From Here” at the Rosegallery.

Taking in all what Bergamot Station had to offer, we particularly enjoyed the art installation “People I Saw But Never Met” by Zadok Ben-David at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. 3,000 hand-cut aluminum figures are installed on the gallery floor covered in white sand (see this post’s featured image).

Another highlight was William Turner Gallery’s “Chance and Circumstances”, an exhibition that featured new works by 91 year-old famous and prolific Los Angeles painter, Ed Moses, a central figure in post-war West Coast Art.

One Show that really captivated us long after we had already left for home was Stephen Wilkes’ “Ellis Island- Ghosts of Freedom” at the Peter Fetterman Gallery. The photography exhibition took you on a trip through an abandoned hospital on Ellis Island that the early immigrants to this country had to pass through before they were allowed access to the ‘land of the free’. Stephen Wilkes captured the eerie atmosphere and its history so perfectly that one was literally pulled into each picture’s story.

One picture was taken from such an angle that the Statue of Liberty was visible in the mirror over a sink in a room, where some Eastern European woman might have had to stay to get her health monitored. Wilkes writes in his remarks next to the image, that he was wondering if this was perhaps the closest she could ever get to the freedom she so had longed for…

Striking, thought provoking compositions left you wanting to find out more about this part of history. Apparently Wilkes just came to visit the hospital for a one-time article assignment but it turned into a 5-year project. You can feel his fascination with his project in his exceptional capturing of the various moods and energy in every image. History comes alive under his camera and we seem to become an invisible witness of the many impactful moments that might have had occurred at that time in history.

Still in thought we solemnly made our way back to our car and were grateful for the appeasing pictures by Tamayo and Diego Rivera at the Latin American Masters Gallery before we found ourselves back on the freeway chaos of the late afternoon traffic.

All Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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German Cuisine – Defined by Sausage, Pretzel and Beer?

What’s Up with German Cuisine in California?

German restaurants and German food trucks seem to be in high season these days. I feel there are so many new ones. But do they offer anything new?

I just heard of a new German restaurant in Orange County in SoCal, “Stadtgarten LA“. It sounded promising, I thought. Curious about what kind of German cuisine they would offer I went to check out their website.

I am met with the the restaurant’s name Stadtgarten written in an interesting font, that reminds me of a neighborhood German beer pub from the 60ties. Then I read the “story”: Stadtgarten is a “gourmet hub” in a historic landmark in Fullerton. The experience apparently “highlights bold tradition with every speciality item offered” .

Wow, I am eager to find out more! Did I finally discover some authentic German restaurant that will surprise me with some tasty Schweinebraten (roast pork) with a crunchy crust or a Berliner Eisbein? Perhaps the authentic northern specialty, Matjes, or a juicy Jägerschnitzel, or even just tasty Käsespätzle or Maultaschen?

My excitement to see the menu is put to a worried stop after my eyes are met by the headline “Artisanal Wurst & Bier”.

Seriously!!  Yes…, all I see is sausages galore!

Come on! Pleaseeee!!

I scroll back to the “story” that claims that I will experience the “storied taste of Germany, spanning decades of specialty quality and selection”, “with recipes  spanning decades brought directly from Germany.”

Am I not being promised a “gourmet authentic cuisine” here? I start feeling a bit offended about what I am actually being offered on the menu posted online.

– The Sausage and its Rise to Power –

Is the Stadtgarten LA seriously claiming that only sausages are making up the storied taste of Germany ? I honestly believe the German Wurst has never been that popular ever (!) than since it’s been pushed to its limits here in the USA. – Sozusagen ‘ausgezuzelt’ (ausgesaugt) bis auf’s Letzte. –

And, I m not even sure if the Wurst frenzy is in fact even happening in Germany itself. The last thing I recently read was that it was now really hip over there to get Eggs Benedict instead of a simple, fried egg… But Wurst!!?

Besides, anyone ever heard of the Vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage or Chicken Habanero & Tequila sausage being part of the German Wurst staple?

I guess I must have missed something growing up in Germany or I’m just getting old….

For me, ‘Wurst’ used to be a fast food served at stands at Christkindlmarkets and other little town fairs. It certainly was present at ALL kids birthday parties, so much so that I couldn’t face a ‘Wienerwurst’ or any ‘Wurst’ for years without slight shudders… until I fell in love with the ‘Käsekrainer’ in Vienna! Since then my sausage taste has been very selective to say the least.

But to call ‘Wurst’, no matter what kind, gourmet food!? That is for sure a social rise for Wurst & Co.

To all the Würstel Dudes (sausages dudes) out there. German cuisine has so much more to offer than only pretzels, beer, and sausages!

It’s not enough to just give a restaurant a German name and slap some German sounding words onto the menu like “share das good times“. Please check your German, otherwise it gives you away as not being very authentic at all!

Having said all that… Stadtgarten LA appears to have a hip, modern and inviting interior (unlike its restaurant name lettering would suggest). It apparently has also created a nice outside beer garden atmosphere, which indeed is hard to find in OC.

Stadtgarten LA may in fact position itself more as a specialty beer pub than a restaurant, if you consider the immense selection of beer that “… can be intimidating to a beer layman” as Edwin Goei puts it in his 2016 article in OC Weekly.

…Nix für ungut!


Author’s note: This article is solely based on the business’ website and its information posted there.

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