Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Winter in Wien

Hot chocolate and Gender Check brochure; photo: Val PhoenixSo, just back from a quick trip to wintry Vienna, just enough time to work in some exhibits, interviews and even a few gigs. Very productive.

First up was Gender Check, the mammoth exhibit of Eastern European depictions of gender, currently at MuMok, but also running in Warsaw in March. As it happened, Cornelia Schleime, one of the exhibiting artists, was in town for a talk, so I stayed to see that, making it a 12-hour shift for me at the museum. Turns out she doesn't consider her work to have any relevance to gender roles, so a bit off-message there, but always entertaining. And I found out: blondes do have more fun.

Scream Club at Brut: photo: Val PhoenixNext up was the launch of the new issue of Fiber, so a chance to meet some of the folk behind this fine publication, as well as hear some readings from some incredibly nervous writers. I can't be smug. I have never read my work aloud. So, well done to them.

Then it was PARTY TIME with Scream Club, in town for the night and in fine form at Brut. Hot, sweaty fun and a new album due in the spring.

Amanda Palmer at Arena: photo: Val PhoenixAfter an absolutely freezing walk through the out-of-season (and amazingly atmospheric) Prater, it was off to see Amanda (Fucking) Palmer put on an astounding show at Arena. Wow. Making her entrance straddling a balcony while performing some piece of Schlager nonsense by 1950s teen idol Heintje earned her massive kudos and it went on from there. The choice of covers was inspired: Michael Jackson, The Sound of Music, Grauzone, Radiohead (off-mic and on ukulele; see below) and, finally, Leonard 'Laughing Boy' Cohen's "Hallelujah", which was rather a downbeat end to an upbeat concert, but the locals say that Vienna is rather a depressive city, so perhaps it all made sense.

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