#DidYouKnow: Leipzig’s 4 most exciting contemporary construction projects

By Harald Köpping Athanasopoulos

If you’ve ever played Sim City, you will know how much fun it can be to scroll around the map and watch your city grow. By planting parks, schools and clinics in an abandoned neighbourhood, derelict buildings are revived and new houses are constructed. Fortunately, if you live in Leipzig, you have to know nothing about Sim City to experience the joy I’m referring to. Oh, how I love watching my Leipzig grow and flourish. Today I want to tell you about some of Leipzig’s most exciting contemporary construction projects.

1 Riverhouses Leipzig

While exploring Leipzig’s fascinating system of rivers and canals, you’ve most certainly passed through Schleußig (which also happens to be where I live). The districts’ high building density along the White Elster has already earned it the nickname ‘Little Venice’. However, things are about to get even more thrilling. Riverhouses Leipzig will provide about 40 luxury apartments with direct access to the river. While the price of these flats will most likely be off the scale, they will definitely form another highlight along Leipzig’s riverfront. By the way, straight across the river there are two more construction projects that are currently in their final stages. I can only hope that this won’t drive our rents up…

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Riverhouses Leipzig, Source: Dima Immobilien. Photo provided by H. Köpping.

2 Sächsische Aufbaubank

From a city planning point of view, Leipzig is essentially a massive playground. After World War II much of the city was destroyed, leaving behind lots of open spaces and urban prairie. One of these spaces is located between the city centre and the landmark Westin Hotel. Thanks to the Development Bank of Saxony (SAB), this area is about to undergo a radical transformation. SAB is moving its headquarters from Dresden to Leipzig, investing millions into its new home base. The six-storey building will essentially be embedded into a forest of pillars, most of which will be publically accessible. Construction will hopefully be completed by 2018.

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Sächsische Aufbaubank, Source: Deutsches Architekturforum, Photo provided by H. Köpping.

3 Offene Moschee Leipzig

Thanks to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Leipzig will host East Germany’s first Islamic sacramental building! Ahmadis are severely persecuted in their ancestral home of Pakistan, where they are considered heretics – Leipzig on the other hand is becoming increasingly colourful and multicultural. When construction has been completed by the end of 2017, the little mosque is going to be located on Georg-Schumann-Straße in Gohlis. Its architectural style is somewhat reminiscent of the new Catholic church in the city centre. The City of Leipzig has set up an information centre on Georg-Schumann-Straße 126 where the Ahmadiyya Community’s plans can be studied.

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Offene Moschee Leipzig, Source: Leipziger Volkszeitung. Photo provided by H. Köpping.

4 Wohnturm Grünau

The final project I want to tell you about makes me particularly happy. For 20 years Grünau was a dying district. Since German unification, its population had more than halved to 40,000. While some of its iconic Plattenbauten fell victim to urban decay, many were torn down altogether. In 2013 this tragic story finally ended, and thanks to its excellent infrastructure Grünau is back on track to growth and development. Lipsia Cooperative, which places its emphasis on affordable housing, is about to start construction on a 13-storey apartment tower. Ironically, an eight-storey Plattenbau had been disassembled at the same location just a few years earlier, when everyone still considered Grünau’s development to be a dead-end. Alas, the cynics and pessimists were proven wrong!

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Wohnturm Grünau, Source: Lipsia eG. Photo provided by H. Köpping.

You may think that all of this is pretty cool already, but the story of Leipzig’s renaissance is far from over. Just take a walk around the ring road and you’ll discover lots of empty spaces. Next time I’ll tell you about our most exciting urban prairies and the city’s plans for their redevelopment.

 

#StartItUp #Travel: Thoughts after the first 24 hours of crowdfunding for an innovative tour business

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The tourism industry taking Europeans and others to Africa has lots of options but often they reinforce stereotypes and reduce the hugely diverse African cultures to clichés. Photo courtesy of Nora Witt.

Starting our Start-up “Mingle Africa” – Thoughts after the first 24h of crowd-funding

By Nora Witt*

For more than a year, Tatjana and I have been working tirelessly on starting our own tour operator for fair and sustainable educational tours to Sub-Saharan African counties: “Mingle Africa”. What began as a mere idea, sitting on a balcony in Berlin sharing a bottle of wine, is going to turn into reality in January 2016. One of the final steps was launching a crowdfunding campaign on EcoCrowd on November 24th to raise 15.000 Euro within the next 45 days.

Having both a background in development studies and African sciences, the idea for our business was clear from the beginning. African countries are being advertised within the tourism industry by the same stereotypes over and over again. What is being sold to tourists is wildlife, landscape, beach and folklore. “Discover Africa’s Magic”, “Travel to the Heart of the Dark continent” are among the headlines used in the tourism industry.

Within Europe there are plenty of tourism companies that offer exciting educational tours, including arts, history, politics, literature, etc. They too tend to reduce the African continent to clichés and Eurocentric ideas. A typical “cultural experience” during a trip to “Africa” (notice something?) might involve some drumming, dancing Zulu/ Maasai people.

That’s pretty much it. I probably don’t have to point out that this description would be a highly incomplete picture of any country, let alone an entire continent when it comes to “culture”.

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“Robben Island.” Photo courtesy of N. Witt.

Debunking stereotypes

With our own tour company we want to change that. We want to be the first specialized outbound tour operator for educational tours to Sub-Saharan African countries on the German market. And we promote fair and sustainable tourism, aiming to be CSR-certified by TourCert in 2017. Running the danger of sounding like a dreamer, we want to change (or help to change) the Eurocentric perception about African countries.

So what is different about our tours? Our first product, the “Educational Tours”are designed to provide intense insight into e.g. cultural, political and historical aspects of the destinations. Apart from common sightseeing sites, we include highlights in our tours such as lectures by local experts, visits to vernissages, readings, concerts, plays, and meeting contemporary witnesses, e.g. people that were active in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. To put it short: Africa is more than safari and “traditions”. We want to show a diverse picture of diverse countries.

Our second product, the “Campus”, is a seminar- and workshop program for young adults, ages 18-25, providing a global learning experience. This program has been designed as an alternative to “voluntourism” (volunteer + tourism) in social projects, which has been highly criticized by various people in the past years. During a six week seminar- and workshop program in Uganda, Tanzania or South Africa, our participants get to know their host culture in an unbiased manner, trying to avoid a Eurocentric perspective on global and developmental matters by leaning about those issues from local experts. We don’t send high school graduates off to teach, we want them be able to learn, to challenge their own perceptions and to enable them to ask critical questions.

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“Table Mountain.” Photo courtesy N. Witt.

Learning by doing

When I was asked to write an article for this blog on our startup I was thrilled. And then I ended up sitting in front of a blank page (don’t worry, I am used to that feeling from my Ph.D.) for two hours wondering what the message was that I wanted to get out there. Obviously I want to inform as many people as possible about our project. Get them (get you) to contribute to our crowd funding campaign and get everyone to share our idea with as many people as possible. But apart from the obvious, I want to share the experience of opening our own business while still being in the process.

There are plenty of articles out there giving advice and sharing experiences. But most of those articles are being written in retrospective. Mostly by people that were successful with their business idea. And you find plenty of handbooks on how to start a business, not to mention all those websites promising 10 (or whatever number) steps to successfully opening a business.

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A concert in southern Africa. Photo courtesy N. Witt.

When someone decides to open her or his own business, obviously that person is convinced she or he has a great idea. There are plenty of doubts, yes, but you wouldn’t try if you were not convinced that there is a market for your idea. So you start gathering information (including reading all those dodgy “10 steps to success” websites), you start planning your products, you start doing market research and very carefully you start mentioning the idea to some friends or family.

Now if you think they are thrilled to hear it, think again. The most common question was: Do you actually know how to start a business?

Well to be honest, I didn’t. One year ago I had no clue how to write a business plan. And most of the handbooks didn’t really help. Then we started writing one which did quite well in the BPW business-plan competition in Berlin-Brandenburg. We even got invited to the pitch for the “Sustainability” prize. I also had no idea how to do the financial planning for an entire business (my high school math teacher would probably be very surprised I even tried), I’d never gone into a bank before to hold a financial pitch in front of ten very intimidating-looking people in suits, I’d never once sat down to negotiate a business contract with people twice my age.

Even after we finished the business plan competition, my parents very carefully and politely asked if we were actually going through with our idea. Well, we wouldn’t have spent all those hours if we didn’t. And by then it wasn’t just an idea any longer.

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Nora Witt (right) and her business partner, Tatjana Spähn. Photo courtesy N. Witt.

The big launch

The latest “first time” is starting a crowdfunding campaign. Just like so many other ambitious people starting their own business, we are trying to raise money by relying on the crowd. Some succeed, some fail. We obviously hope to be among the lucky ones who manage to raise the money. But as all handbooks tell you, it has not much to do with luck. It has to do with knowing how to plan the campaign. So again, I did a lot of reading before launching the campaign. Doing a lot of reading on a topic is what you are used to when working on your PhD. It gives you a certain feeling of security.

But the second thing I had to learn is that no matter how much you read or how many seminars you visit, you will never feel absolutely certain that what you are doing is right. At some point you just have to start. So writing this article is part of just getting started.

Because there comes the day when you actually have to put your idea out into the real world, tell people that are not friends or family about it and anxiously wait for their response. That’s a very scary part. So since we started our crowdfunding campaign, we have been checking the comments on our Facebook page, e-mails and messages every minute. After the official launch, we were both sitting hooked to our laptops, waiting for the first person to contribute. What was actually just a couple of minutes did feel like hours.

So far we are overwhelmed by the positive responses, by people reaching out, offering support and even asking for an internship with us. Getting this kind of response makes us confident that what we are doing is actually working out, that the idea didn’t just make sense in your own mind.

By now even my parents have stopped asking if this is what I actually want.

(Written on November 25th, 2015.)

*Nora Witt is a budding entrepreneur and PhD student at the University of Leipzig. Contact her at nora@mingleafrica.com, or her business partner Tatjana Spähn at tatjana@mingleafrica.com.

#Music #Leipzig: On carving her niche as an experimental electronic music DJane

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INYAN at INDUSTRIALISATION // Werk 2 Leipzig. Photo courtesy of INYAN.

INYAN // Experimental Electronic Music from Leipzig

By Corina/INYAN (topa blog)

Note: After my interview with Ana, I was asked to write about my experience as a DJane in Electronica. So here we go…

In 2000, a friend of mine was looking for various DJs, because he had one floor at Moritzbastei every Saturday night for himself. I was experienced in DJing, since I was running a weekly disco and disco workshop for kids and teens at VILLA before. This and the opportunity to listen to my own favorite music (which was Rhythmic Noise and Industrial at this time, two genres you could rarely listen to in a club) as long and as loud as I wanted to, and present it to an audience, led me to tell him that I was in. I also asked my then new boyfriend, a long-time DJ for Industrial and the more guitar-based American Industrial, to join in.

Soon after, we, halo7 and INYAN, played almost every week at Box/Moritzbastei, the most hidden and tiny floor I have ever seen. We also showed background visuals that basically were Mangas in those days. Since we gained some attention with our unique taste in music and had guests travelling hours to come to our parties, Moritzbastei then offered us to have our own floor (one of the big ones) on Friday nights, which we used to create parties called Industrial Culture or Anakronism. We first invited to these events DJs we were friends with, and later also booked artists and bands to bring like-minded people together.

We went to label festivals like Maschinenfest, Forms of Hands and Elektroanschlag that were really underground in their beginning years, where we got our inspiration. At some of them we also played, and we have been booked to DJ at parties and festivals all over Germany and also in England, Spain, Italy, the US and Canada. In 2001, we founded Global Noise Movement, an international network of artists interested in creating audiovisual events, and later on Adventurous Music, a project focusing on audiovisual arts presented in uncommon locations. Both, GNM and AM, are still going today.

I’ve never made DJing a business to live from, even though I got paid almost every time, which is not self-evident at all in those music subgenres and also not if you decide to switch from being a service supporter filling dance floors to being an artist playing unique one-hourly sets to present unusual sounds to real music lovers.

Even though DJing is a lot of hard work, it is also so much fun and worth the lack of sleep. I have gotten the chance to meet and work with great artists, participate in amazing events, and experience things I’d never ever dreamed of. I’ve played at unofficial underground parties and at well-equipped festivals, in an old castle and in a modern style bar, in front of three and in front of 300+ people, at night and at daytime. I once had to use the worst technique of all and made the best out of it. Another time I played wearing a parka, cap, scarf and gloves, because the venue was freezing cold. And one time a woman even tipped me after she danced happily to my entire set.

When I started DJing Experimental Electronica (over the years I went on to play Drum’n’Noise, Breakcore, Dark Step, IDM, Ambient and Drone), women in this business were rare and they are somehow still today. I don’t know why, because I myself always felt very welcome and supported by fellow DJs, artists, bookers and the audience as well. I have been told that there is a difference in the sets of a male and a female DJ, some sort of variation you can only tell by listening.

I don’t know if there’s really such a thing. But I invite you to figure that out by yourself if you like: I am going to participate with another audiovisual artwork at Raster Noton Label Night // Raster Noton vs. Adventurous Music at Institut für Zukunft on Dec. 11th. It’s gonna be an outstanding event with high quality sounds and visuals. So if you’re into a/v arts, I’d be happy to see you there!

More info: inyan.globalnoisemovement.net // mixcloud.com/inyan // vimeo.com/inyan

#LeipzigEvents: Whisky and Rye? Oh My!

Tacoholics-Whiskey-Tasting_edited-2Bye bye Miss American Pie… have you ever wondered what Rye is like? What the difference between Whiskey and Rye is? Bourbons have been experiencing a renaissance in the USA, but now Ryes are the ones that are catching on again after having almost disappeared during the American Prohibition (1920-1933). And for good reason: Their spiciness, fruitiness and dryness compare well with their Single Malt counterparts in Scotland and Japan. On this evening we will try six excellent examples of Rye and Single Malt Whiskeys. Anathema of the event is peatiness and smokiness. Each whiskey will be paired with finger food to accentuate the experience along with descriptions and a multimedia presentation.

Doors open at 19:00
Tasting begins at 19:30
The cost is 60 EUR
Includes finger-food
There are only 20 seats available so get your tickets now!!
Tickets available at Tacohlics.
Karl-Heine-Straße 58B
You must be over 18 to participate.
Sláinte!

#BullshitRadar: “There’s a limit to your love…”

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Photo from Pixabay.com.

By Rachael Clugston

It’s a complex topic which is being reduced down to a few buzz words in the current refugee debate: ‘Flüchtlingslager’, ‘Familiennachzug’, ‘Sicherer Herkunftsstaat’, ‘Festung Europa’, ‘Drittstaatenregelung’… ‘Obergrenze’. It’s a geopolitical, legal and ethical minefield for public discourse, spilling over into intensive social-media commentary with positions signalised by the use (or absence) of value-loaded terminology.

The term ‘Obergrenze’ (meaning ‘upper limit’) taps into one aspect of this debate: the desire for control and accountability. Concepts are slippery and more difficult to defend. A number allows a measure of confidence and is seen as empirically safe. There is an end in sight, a concrete outcome for national sovereignty, and perhaps a metaphorical beheading for Merkel if she fails to limit the intake to this politically determined quota.

It is therefore not surprising that members from the CDU and the CSU in particular are agitating for a number to be set. The concept of a nebulous outcome, based upon transnational agreements upholding the sanctity of asylum as an inalienable right, strikes at national and state-based sovereignty. Bayern has enjoyed its special status in the German Federation, largely cemented in agreements between Ludwig II and Otto von Bismarck which have preserved this ‘State within a State’ mentality. Hence Horst Seehofer’s continuing agitation against Merkel, notwithstanding his latest shabby performance at the CSU conference.

In essence, the ‘Obergrenze’ talk is cut from the same fabric of the NPD platform, the ‘Boat is full’ slogan propounded since the 1990s. The AfD have also featured this slogan in a recent press release, with Gauland no less leading the charge. For those who argue that the country cannot sustain an influx of refugees, any number suggested would probably be too high.

This is the real problem: The desire (or lack thereof) to be engaged in a process of integration is tempered by the prospect of people who look different from us, who are non-European and have a different religion. When Merkel states ‘We can do this!’, the reply is direct, ‘We don’t want to do this!’ Some within the major parties (such as the next probable CSU leader Markus Söder have made hit-and-run comments linking terrorism to refugees, in an attempt to influence the direction of policy. Such actions put political pressure on our leaders to give a number.

Merkel has continued to swerve around this question. Around her, individual states are starting to declare their position on this question. What is required is a clear response – that binding legal definitions and agreements are not dependent upon quantity, rather the dire position of vulnerable and desperate people.

#LeipzigEvents: The early arrival of Santa Claus (and how to escape him if you want)

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Rock me, Santa! Image from Pixabay.com.

By Marjon Borsboom (with commentary by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro)

We can live out our 90s obsession, hang out with some wild-hearted folks while watching live performances, and/or see (probably) an old guy with a big belly and red suit arrive at the train station (also a 90s child, but wearing a fake white beard?). All in the same 7-day period. 

November 28th Arrival of Santa Claus at Hauptbahnhof by steam train at 11:00

Yep, you read it correctly! More info…

But wait, there’s more pre-Christmas, Christmas-related action…

International Xmas-events at Villa Rosenthal, e.g. Italian (02.12.), English (09.12.) and Russian (16.12) themed celebrations: More info…

27th November – 20th December 20th Modellbahn zur Adventszeit

In Strohsackpassage (near Nikolaikirche) every year a large Christmassy model railway display can be visited during the Advent weeks. More info… 

And of course: The Christmas market continues along Leipzig city center, right up until Christmas Eve. 

Now for the non-Christmas-related events (you know, in case you don’t celebrate Christmas, or simply don’t want to celebrate it just yet)… how about a 90s party Saturday night, with DJs playing such unforgettable hits as “Mambo Number 5” and “Fred Come to Bed?” Or a party with live acts Saturday afternoon AND evening, whose description is, “Come along you freaky, queer, genderblender, slutty, wave, punky, funky, gothic, monster, hippy, gipsy, roots, rockers and join in to our party…”  Or going to the events below…?

This sounds quite interesting:

November 28th FERN.licht – Erlebnismesse – Reisen Outdoor Fotografie

A new event in the recently reopened Kongresshalle am Zoo, about travel, outdoor activities and how to capture both in images. More info…

And this is famous locally, you may already know it:

November 29th and 30th Antiques & Flea Market at AGRA

Every last weekend of the month the Agra Grounds transform into a giant second hand market, both indoor & outdoor. You’ll find furniture, household items, books, reclaimed (industrial) materials, DDR memorabilia etc. The market is very popular and attracts visitors from all over Saxony and beyond. Warning: may cause traffic jams, so consider cycling there or taking a tram. More info… (Don’t really know how much Christmas will be present in this case, in objects, decoration…)

Bonus: For those who can read German, a full list of December events by Stadt Leipzig can be found here.

#dance #festivals: DANCE TRANSIT

dance transitby maeshelle west-davies

In 2013 I was blown away by the performances at the LOFFT’s TANZOFFENSIVE. I am so happy they are continuing to work within the realms of mixed ability dance. Always top quality. Always on the edge. Genuinely my favourite for dance in Leipzig.

In Dance Transit the LOFFT – Das Theater in Leipzig, HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts in Dresden and Tanec Praha unite for a dance festival. Leipzig will present the second edition of the three part series with three choregraphic works over three days. Each show represents one of the partnering cities: PRAGUE.LEIPZIG.DRESDEN. The common thread that binds them is they are mixed ability dance pieces.

dance transit composite

schedule:

 

SIMULANTE BANDE

VerteDance Company / Prague

Where is the line of convention? What is right? What is wrong? And what remains invisible? Four artists from Prague – with or without handicaps – jointly discover new ways to embody gentle touch, vigorous moves and heavy blows.

 

MASHED POTATO

Superyoutour Dinovitz/Lebert + Tanzlabor Leipzig

Potatoes – the solution to every problem! This is a trip through the chaos of everyday life. Snappy and soft, bitter and breezy.

 

MULTIFIL IDENTITY

multifil identity – inclusive dance theater Dresden

Thumbnails of dance unleash new communication pulses between the performers and the audience.

The stage is a mirror that confronts us using our own emotions.

#MoviesOmU: Movies in English and other original language versions in Leipzig, November 25-December 2

Here’s our regular listing of films being shown in English and other original foreign languages, and sometimes German with foreign partnerships or English subtitles, at Leipzig cinemas for this movie week. Although not dubbed, the movies often come with German or even English subtitles, so you might still be able to access the film if you don’t know the language being spoken. This is the case with the film festivals playing here at the moment – such fests seem to be happening every week in Leipzig these days, which makes me quite thrilled!

The film festivals featuring films in the original this week take us, respectively, to China (chai.China, put on by the local Confucius Institute and die naTo); France and Latin America for one more day, the 25th of November (21. Französische Filmtage and 6. Latinamerikanische Tage); the world of a legendary French director (Retrospektive Louis Malle at Schaubühne Lindenfels, partly connected to the French film fest); and some of the secrets of the soul (die NaTo’s Mythos Freiheit // 3: SEELE).

What the labels we list mean: OmU – Original with German subtitles; OmeU – Original with English subtitles; OF – Original film; OV – Original version; Im Original – In the original and often 3D.

Ana Beatriz

Mythos Freiheit SEELE @ die naTo:

  • Hier sprach der Preis – Documentary | Germany 2015 | Director: Sabrina Jäger | German, OmeU

Tue 01.12 @ 19:30

“The closure of a DIY store in Bruchsal, Germany. ‘Everything must go!’: beyond the slogan, the film follows the material and human proceedings.” (Imdb)

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Tue 01.12 @ 22:00

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  • La mort du Dieu serpent [Death of the Serpent God] – Documentary, drama | France, Senegal 2014 | Director: Damien Froidevaux | OmeU

Wed 02.12 @ 19:00

“After a street fight goes wrong, Koumba, age 20, is expelled to Senegal. Having arrived in France in her early childhood, in 48 hours the restless teenager is sent to a village in the middle of the bush, far from her family and Parisian life. The destiny of a young Parisian from the tenements during her five year exile.” (Imdb)

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“China” Fest @ die naTo:

  • A Young Patriot Documentary | China, France 2015 | Director: Haibin Du | Chinese, OmeU

Thu 26.11 @ 19:00

“This intimate documentary chronicles five years in the life of a young Chinese student, whose fervent idealism and dedication to Mao’s legacy stands in stark contrast to contemporary China’s turn towards state capitalism.” (YouTube)

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  • The Last Moose Of Aoluguya – Documentary | China 2014 | Director: Tao Gu | Chinese, OmeU

Fri 27.11 @ 18:00

“The moose is the largest animal of the Great Xingan Mountains. Mighty, sensitive, and majestic, he has been hunted and his home has been destroyed, and now it is rare that people can catch a glimpse of him in the great forests of Northeastern China. Ewenki hunter Weijia’s life has followed the trajectory of the moose, with his lands taken away, his hunting guns confiscated, and his way of life falling into extinction; he spends his days drinking and painting his memories of a better time. How can Weijia reconcile the life he was born into with his new reality?” (Imdb)

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Fri 27.11 @ 20:00

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  • First Launch + Exit Short films, animation, drama | Taiwan 2014 | Directors: Wang Weixiu, Chien Hsian | OmeU

Fri 27.11 @ 22:15

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  • Red Amnesia – Drama, crime, thriller | China 2014 | Director: Xiaoshuai Wang | Chinese, OmeU

Sat 28.11 @ 18:00

“Deng is a stubborn retired widow who spends her days caring [for] her two grown up sons and her elderly mother, despite her family efforts to stop her. But her daily routine starts derailing when she keeps receiving anonymous calls.” (Imdb)

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  • The Silk Road Of Pop – Documentary, music | China, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium 2012 | Directors: Sameer Farooq, Ursula Engel | English/Uighur/Chinese, OmeU

Sat 28.11 @ 20:15

“One of the very few documentaries to come out of Xinjiang, The Silk Road of Pop captures the challenges of a minority group in China and the explosive music scene which results. The Silk Road of Pop tells the story of Ay, a young music fan. Apprehensive about her own life choices as a young Uyghur woman in China and curious about the outside world, she turns to music for answers and is drawn to musicians who mirror her struggles in their songs.” (Imdb)

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Sat 28.11 @22:00

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“French Days” Fest:

  • Madame Marguerite – Drama, comedy, music | France, Czech Republic, Belgium 2015 | Director: Xavier Giannoli | French, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11 @ 15:00

“Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she’s not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband have kept her fantasy. The problem begins when she decides to perform in front of a real audience.” (Imdb)

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  • Valley of Love – Drama | France, Belgium 2015 | Director: Guillaume Nicloux | French/English, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11 @ 17:45

“Isabelle and Gérard go to a strange appointment in Death Valley, California. They have not seen each other for years and are here to answer to an invitation from their son Michael, a photographer, which they received after his suicide, six months ago.” With Gérard Depardieu. (Imdb)

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  • La passante du Sans-Souci [Die Spaziergängerin von Sans-Souci] – Drama | France, West Germany 1982 | Director: Jacques Rouffio | French, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11 @ 18:30

“Max Baumstein is a reputable businessman, a rich self-made man with a conscience – he founded a highly visible and active international organization fighting against violations of human rights. Why would he commit an act that apparently negates the principles he has striven for so long to uphold? It is the conclusion of a struggle that started many decades earlier, when Elsa Wiener, a German singer exiled in Paris, without money or relations, a refugee among many others, faced two daunting problems: surviving in a foreign city, and saving her husband Michel from the clutches of the Nazis.”(Imdb)

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  • Le Tournoi [The Tournament] – Drama | France 2015 | Director: Elodie Namer | French/English/Hungarian, OmU

Schubühne Lindenfels:

Wed 25.11 @ 19:00

“Budapest International Chess Tournament. The most likely winner: Cal Fournier (22), French champion, immature genius, socially awkward, compulsive player. But this time, an unusual 9-year-old Hungarian opponent disrupts this smooth-running routine.” (Imdb)

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  • Boys Like Us – Drama,queer, romance | France 2014 | Director: Patric Chiha | French, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11 @ 19:30

“Neurotic, Parisian, gay, and thirty-something, three friends lost their way in Austrian mountains. From dizzying summits to huge abyss, now could be the right time to take stock of their lives, lovers, and friendships.” (Imdb)

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  • Comme un avion [Nur Fliegen ist schöner] – Comedy | France 2014 | Director: Bruno Podalydès | French, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11 @ 20:00

“Michel, a fifty year old man, graphic designer, decides to change the urban lifestyle and go on an adventure. Fascinated by airmail, he dreams at Jean Mermoz when he’s on scooter. One day, Michel sees a picture of a kayak.” (Imdb)

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Retrospektive Louis Malle @ Schaubühne Lindenfels:

  • My Dinner with Andre [Mein Essen mit André] Drama, biography, comedy, experimental film | USA 1981 | Director: Louis Malle | English, OmU

Wed 25.11, Sat 28.11 @ 21:00

“Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more talkative of the pair. He relates to Shawn his tales of dropping out, traveling around the world, and experiencing the variety of ways people live, such as a monk who could balance his entire weight on his fingertips. Shawn listens avidly, but questions the value of Gregory’s seeming abandonment of the pragmatic aspects of life.” (Imdb)

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  • Pretty Baby Drama | USA 1978 | Director: Louis Malle | English, OmU

Thu 26.11 @ 19:00

“A teenage girl lives as a prostitute in the early decades of America, only to know her body is for bounty.” With Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon. (Imdb)

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  • Vanya on 42nd Street  Drama, experimental film | USA 1984 | Director: Louis Malle | English, OmU

Fri 27.11 @ 19:00

“An uniterrupted rehersal of Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ played out by a company of actors. The setting is their run down theater with an unusable stage and crumbling ceiling. The play is shown act by act with the briefest of breaks to move props or for refreshments. The lack of costumes, real props and scenery is soon forgotten.”(Imdb)

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“Latin American Days” Fest

  • Cómo ganar enemigos [So macht man sich Feinde] – Comedy, crime, mystery | Argentina 2014 | Director: Gabriel Lichtmann | Spanish, OmU

Cinémathèque in der naTo:

Wed 25.11 @ 20:00

“Lucas, a young lawyer, meets the stunning, sexy Bárbara in a café. Lucas thinks she is perfect, with a taste for good literature. Lucas takes her home on his first date. The next morning Lucas wakes up to find Bárbara gone together with his cash. Determined to recover his money he tracks her down, but is shocked to find the identity of the person behind the heist. ” (Imdb)

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  • El 5 de Talleres – Drama | Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, France, Netherlands 2014 | Director: Adrián Biniez | Spanish, OmU

Cinémathèque in der naTo:

Wed 25.11 @ 22:00

“Argentinian soccer player leaves his club for a career outside sports. During his last five matches, he struggles with the question [of] what he will do with his life.” (Imdb)

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Other features opening this week:

  • Hasret: Sehnsucht – Documentary | Germany, Turkey 2015 | Director: Ben Hopkins | Turkish/German/English, OmU

Kinobar Prager Frühling:

Thu 26.11, Sat 28.11 @ 19:15

Fri 27.11 @ 16:30

Wed 02.12 @ 17:00

“A European director is commissioned to make a documentary about Istanbul. He starts to film its everyday life – but soon becomes drawn to the darker, more mysterious side of the city – its past, its secrets, its ghosts. Gradually he succumbs to obsession.” (Imdb)

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  • Riverbanks –  Drama | Greece, Germany, Turkey, France 2015 | Regie: Panos Karkanevatos| Greek/German/Turkish, Im Original

Cineding:

Thu 26.11, Fri. 27.11, Sat 28.11  @ 22:00

Mon 30.11, Tue 01.12, Wed 02.12 @ 20:00

“John is an introvert young soldier serving as a minesweeper in Evros. When he meets Chryssa, a woman passing immigrants from borders between Greece and Turkey, he will try to convince her run away and start a new life.”(Imdb)

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  • Bridge of Spies – Biography, drama, history | USA, Germany, India 2015 | Director: Steven Spielberg | English/German/Russian, OF

Regina Palast:

Mon 30.11 @ 20:00

“During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.With Tom Hanks.” (Imdb)

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Features continuing this week:

  • Macbeth Drama | UK, France, USA 2015 | Director: Justin Kurzel | English, OmU

Kinobar Prager Frühling:

Wed 25.11 @ 19:00

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Wed 25.11 @ 20:00

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  • El Club – Drama | Chile 2015 | Director: Pablo Larraín | Spanish, OmU

Cineding:

Thu 26.11, Fri 27.11, Sat 28.11 @ 20:00

Tue 01.12, Wed 02.12 @ 22:00

“A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.” (Imdb)

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  • Irrational Man Drama, thriller | USA 2015 | Director: Woody Allen | English, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Sat 28.11 @ 22:45

Schauburg:

Mon 30.11 @ 20:00

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  • Body – Drama | Poland 2015 | Director: Malgorzata Szumowska | Polish, OmU

Cinémathèque in der naTo:

Mon 30.11 @ 22:00

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  • Spectre (James Bond) – Action, adventure, thriller | US, UK 2015 | Director: Sam Mendes | English, OmU

Passage Kinos:

Wed 25.11, Fri 27.11 @ 21:00

Thu 26.11, Sat 28.11, Sun 29.11,  Mon 30.11, Tue 01.12, Wed 02.12 @ 20:45

Schauburg:

Mon 30.11 @ 20:00

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For movies playing in Leipzig also dubbed in German, visit Player:Web.

#ParisAttacks: The media debacle involving a female terrorism suspect

Police_-_rue_de_la_République_Saint-Denis_-_18_nov_2015_(cropped)
Raid in suburban Paris where the female terrorism suspect died. “Police – rue de la République Saint-Denis – 18 nov 2015 (cropped)” by Chris93 – File:Police – rue de la République Saint-Denis – 18 nov 2015.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.

By Ana Beatriz Ribeiro

I strongly condemn and am devastated by the recent terrorist attacks in France, in Lebanon, in Egypt and elsewhere. But I felt that I could not be silent about one of the latest examples of shoddy, irresponsible, salacious media coverage, related to the attacks. And in times like these, when panic is widespread, when violence and hatred and prejudice especially beget more violence and hatred and prejudice, this type of coverage is especially dangerous.

Following the 13/11 Paris attacks, there was a well-publicized police raid in the Paris suburbs in which part of a building was blown off and suspects killed, including a woman named Hasna Aitboulahcen. Media outlets immediately jumped on the story, with The Telegraph and others labeling Aitboulahcen, a 26-year-old French woman of Moroccan descent, “Europe’s first woman suicide bomber.” Media also stated that she was the cousin of suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud, believed to have been the mastermind behind the 13/11 attacks (with some media reporting this as a certainty as well). And here the problems start: Hours after these articles came out, authorities said they had mistakenly believed that Aitboulahcen had blown herself up during the raids, and that it was not actually known whether she was Abaaoud’s cousin; nor was it known if she had been at all involved in the Paris attacks, as The Washington Post pointed out.

Readers may say, “She was an extremist, anyway. Why give her any respect?” The dead woman has a family and friends, and they already have to deal with the grief of her death and implication in terrorism, which immediately leads to her being dehumanized. Perhaps they, as living human beings, could have been spared the grief of seeing their family member or friend wrongfully labeled a suicide bomber, which may be corrected, but will probably not be erased from the public’s consciousness – along with the erroneous articles that will remain online. And they could have been spared the grief of the dead woman’s disgusting objectification, as well.

American and British media also reported that Aitboulahcen was a selfie- and social-media-loving, alcohol-drinking, serial-dating “party girl” who had no interest in religion and transformed into a jihadist rather quickly; some outlets even posted a photo of Aitboulahcen naked in a bathtub. So she is being publicly judged both for her “extremism” (the extent of which is merely speculated on rather than known) and for her previous lack of religion and “partying” ways. Headlines speak for themselves:

“Skanky suicide bomber used to be a selfie-taking party animal,” The New York Post, 20.11.2015

“EXCLUSIVE: Extraordinary selfie of terror mastermind’s cousin shows girl blown up in Saint-Denis siege who never read the Koran, liked to drink and smoke and had a reputation for having lots of boyfriends,” The Daily Mail, 19.11.2015

“Paris attacks: female suicide bomber Hasna Aitboulahcen liked wearing cowboy hats but joined an Islamic State terror cell,” The Telegraph, 20.11.2015

And the less sensationalist, but leading to similarly speculative articles:

“The French female extremist’s curious path to Islamist violence,” The Washington Post, 20.11.2015

“For Woman Dead in French Police Raid, Unlikely Path to Terror,” The New York Times, 20.11.2015

So, an extrovert who drinks and wears a cowboy hat cannot become an extremist? But if she wears a scarf and reads the Quran, she is more likely to? Recent reports may tell you otherwise, and you’d be surprised at what British intelligence has found about terror suspects’ profile. The spread of dangerous, grossly simplistic stereotypes driven by fear, emotion or the desire to sell more newspapers should be avoided in favor of more sensible investigation. Prejudice begets hate which begets violence.

And “slut-shaming” does nothing for any constructive debate; it is smut that distracts readers from the actual important underlying issues and sets us back decades in the fight against misogyny.

I wonder if a male terrorism suspect in Boulahcen’s position would have gotten the same treatment in the media, the same type of salacious scrutiny? I’d dare say not.

Salon.com picked up on the salaciousness and sexism of such media coverage, commenting in a Nov. 20 article:

“Reading these pieces, it’s hard to tell what the Post and the Mail think is the worse life choice for young women: Being ‘skanky’ or participating in a plot to murder as many people as you can before blowing yourself up during a police raid. Both pieces lovingly describe in the most macabre detail possible how Boulahcen’s body blew apart in the raid, and you can’t quite tell if they think it’s her just desserts for being a terrorist or for her previous life, which they clearly see as irredeemably slutty.”

The story gets perhaps even more outrageous: The woman in the infamous bathtub photo was not Aitboulahcen. The media wrongfully identified the woman, Nabila Bakkatha, as Aitboulahcen; but Bakkatha is actually alive and living in Morocco, the apparent victim of a cruel move by someone she knows who sold photos of her to newspapers saying she was the slain Paris suspect. And in their rush for clicks, media outlets irresponsibly published the photos, landing Bakkatha in a very unpleasant, if not dangerous, situation:

“My family was shocked, and some of my relatives are not talking to me anymore,” Bakkatha told CNN. “My life changed drastically, I stopped going to work, and I cannot go out anymore as I live in continuous fear.”

It is astounding to me that, with Brussels on lockdown and threats being recently reported at a Hannover stadium, some media outlets would still find the time to speculate and sensationalize regarding Boulahcen. But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, considering the shoddy, fear-mongering coverage on refugees that unfortunately is destined to get worse, compounding xenophobia in an extremely delicate time.

With stories evolving this quickly and in such a volatile, bloodthirsty environment, it would be best to err on the side of caution rather than haphazardly going for sales and clicks. It would possibly destroy a lot fewer lives.

#Music: Boy

Boy_01

By Harald Köpping Athanasopoulos

If you weren’t at Haus Auensee last night, you missed a powerful, lively and emotional show by one of Germany’s most talented and original contemporary duos: Boy. I first came across Boy about four years ago after seeing them on the Facebook page of another artist I like. Last night’s performance proved they have emancipated themselves from being an opening act to full-fledged stardom.

Let me first say a few words about Boy: founded in 2007, they basically consist of Zurich-born singer Valeska Steiner and German bassist Sonja Glass. If you hear them for the first time, they may remind you of Feist, and most people would probably classify their style as Indie pop. What really fascinates me about Boy though is the authenticity of their lyrics. Listening to their songs really allows you to imagine the situations that inspired them, and if you’re a romantic like me, you will be able to truly relate. They have released two albums so far, Mutual Friends in 2011 and We Were Here in 2015. Their song Little Numbers made in into a Lufthansa-commercial that was broadcast all over Europe.

How did they perform in concert? They started out with We Were Here, which was also the first single released from their most recent album. The song talks about how you leave behind traces in every place you visit. Indeed, it was a good way to open. Boy’s first performance in Leipzig was in 2010 at Horn’s Erben, where they played for an audience of 25. This year’s concert was actually moved from Werk 2 to Haus Auensee because of high demand. Their experience of Leipzig reflects their growth as a band.

Another song that really stuck out for me was Railway, where Valeska sings about saying goodbye to someone who doesn’t even know she exists. It was the most heart-felt piece of the night. Nevertheless, the concert reached its climax with their final song, This is the Beginning. I have to admit that I usually skip this track on their first album, so I was dumbstruck by the amount of energy the duo managed to get out of this song. When they finished off, the audience got them to play a third encore, where they proclaimed the Leipzig concert to have been the best of their current tour.

If you haven’t heard Boy yet, I strongly recommend you give it a go. I hope we’ll see you next time they play in Leipzig…perhaps at the Arena?