Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Kulturtag...culture day...I am just amazed at all the stuff going on here all the time. Last night I sat down with a bunch of brochures and copied dates into my calendar of things I want to make sure to see/visit/watch. So today I took advantage of some of the cultural offerings Saarbrücken has to offer...

I went to the European Authors' Conference in Saarbrücken, where the theme was "erzählen und zuhören in Deutschland," roughly "telling and listening in Germany." I went to a forum where the invited authors read personal essays about what they think it means to "tell and listen." It was really interesting: some of them were more optimistic than others. Some talked about how there are, unfortunately, fewer and fewer people who read instead of flicking on the TV or the Playstation. And some of them talked about specific works of literature that speak to them, or about the challenge of reading aloud well. The authors were mostly German, with one Italian man who had an interpreter next to him, and one Swiss and one Austrian author. The program also tells about their bios, with their books published and prizes won. So I'll have to keep my eye out for their works. I already have quite a long reading list...currently I'm reading Bernhard Schlink's Liebesfluchten. Maybe you've heard of his book called "The Reader." It was on Oprah's list and has been translated into English. Good book if you're looking for a recommendation.

Then, this evening, I went to a documentary film called "Stealing Klimt." It is about a woman who was born in 1916 in Vienna, to a wealthy Jewish family that owned five original Klimt paintings, including some really really famous portraits they had commissioned. When Austria was annexed to Germany the Nazis seized art (as well as other property) of Viennese Jews and many works were "lost" during the war. Austrian galleries just took them without reimbursing the families properly. The woman in the documentary fights a huge legal battle to try to get ownership of the paintings. Watch for this film to come out in the US; it was really fascinating. Here's a link to a BBC article about the process, with a picture of the painting:


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