Remnants of Hapsburg Pressburg

July 8th, 2015 § 0

One of the great things about having a dog is that he will take you off the beaten track. Sometimes far off the beaten track. In this case on a 37 degree day, Thor insisted on going through the woods. I ended up crawling through bracken in shorts with low rise socks (very cool looking invention until crossing berries and vines in the woods).

Pressburg Pionier Oberleutenant Karl Hoper L
Pressburg Pionier Oberleutenant Karl Hoper (L)

In this case, Thor led me to a very old memorial tableau from 1909, reminding us of some unfortunate Pionier (in German) who were blown up by a mine. Until I saw the date I couldn't understand why the Russians or Slovak would write in German, as the Russians also had Pioneers. But no, this was a trace of Hapsburg Pressburg, when Pressberg was probably about the fifteenth city in the Austrian side of Austro-Hungary.

Bratislava Castle Danube boats postcard 1
Bratislava Castle Danube boats postcard (L)

While I was there I took a photo of the castle with boats passing. This photo has the feel of old postcards for me. Technically it's shot on a Leica R 50mm f2 mounted on a Sony NEX-5T. With the NEX-5T you can mount all your amazing old manual lens. Aperture exposure mode works great (unlike on the Canon 5D Mark III and other Canon DSLR). 

View from Konigswart

November 13th, 2013 § 0

Where the Austrian emperors came to greet their Hungarian armies. Ironically, it's one of the last great NATO listening posts now, still fenced and guarded with now unneeded and obsolete gigantic satellite dishes. The woods stretch off in all directions for miles. From the watchtower one can see in every direction, from Hainburg to Bratislava to Kittsee and further to Hungary.

Konigswart NATO Kittsee full
Konigswart NATO Kittsee full

View from Konigswart Continues »

Oper Graz: Deal.West.East

April 27th, 2012 § 0

A trip to a Graz dance premiere is always a challenge. Graz Opera ballet director Darrel Toulon has been either dancing or creating dance for a quarter century, ever seeking the grail of the new.

Once again we are in the extraordinary studio theatre Wilder Mann. What makes Wilder Mann different from almost any other space is that there is no depth to the stage and it is enormously wide. Dance works horizontally instead of vertically. Alas neither of tonight’s choreographers took full advantage of the space this time: to take advantage of the space, one needs to program opposing important actions on either end of the stage. The effect in when used properly is almost like Mike Figgis’s Timecode film with four frames of action taking place at the same time.

In Deal.East.West, the something new involved bringing together two young choreographers from the two far extremes of the Eurasian continent: Shanghai native Jie Dong and James Wilton from England. Both are dedicated national artists, working respectively in their native lands, rather than from the European melting pot of choreography (French in Belgium, Spaniards in Paris, Russians in Germany).

I can think and dream about it

To be fair, Dong’s work is very much in the Western tradition of modern dance and has very little to do with Oriental movement: his masters studied in the tradition of Martha Graham, Isadora Duncan and Pina Bausch. Dong is as Chinese (or not) as Hong Kong action films.

Jura Wanga Jana Drgonova Daphne van Dooren Ruo Chen Wang Dianne Gray
Jura Wanga, Jana Drgonova, Daphne van Dooren,
Ruo Chen Wang, Dianne Gray

Dong collaborated with long time Toulon stage designer Vibeke who onced again offered us one her extraordinary minimalist environments in white. On the left there was an enormous three meter high white chair. Later a smaller white chair is passed among the dancers. Small elegant details which worked.

Oper Graz: Deal.West.East Continues »