Current Research Projects in German Studies: Conchita Wurst & Transgender Identity Performance

The United States have the Super Bowl, Europe has the Eurovision Song Contest. Almost 200 Million people watch how performers from 40+ countries compete for the votes of the televoting audience. (No, you have not missed a sudden expansion of the European Union — the European Broadcasting Union is significantly larger than the EU, including many Eastern European countries as well as Turkey and Israel, for instance.)

Over time, most winning performers have not left a lasting imprint on the global entertainment industry. The Swedish band ABBA and the Canadian singer Celine Dion (yes, her — she actually won the contest starting for Switzerland!) are the exceptions confirming the norm.

The winner of the 2014 contest did leave an imprint: Conchita Wurst, a “Kunstfigur” created by the Austrian performer Thomas Neuwirth, surprised the audience not so much with her song but with her overall performance which boldly challenged heteronormative gender expectations.

To watch a video and read more, click below. Continue reading Current Research Projects in German Studies: Conchita Wurst & Transgender Identity Performance


Music and Emotions in Postwar German Film

Courses and finals are over, the grading continues. What makes it fun are examples of creative and inspiring student work. Here’s an example from the final projects in German 330 “Postwar German Cinema”:

Continue reading Music and Emotions in Postwar German Film

Open-Air Screening of “Metropolis” Postponed

The planned open-air screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis has been postponed to Spring 2013!

Wladimir Kaminer To Speak At Emory U

Wladimir Kaminer, author of the popular novella “Russendisko”, will speak and read from his texts at Emory University on Tuesday, October 2, at 7:30pm in the Oxford Building’s 3rd Floor. (Kaminer will read in German.)

Continue reading Wladimir Kaminer To Speak At Emory U

German Sci-Fi classic “Metropolis” to be Screened at Woodruff Arts Center

Update September 26, 2012:

This event has been postponed to Spring 2013! Consult the Sonic Generator website for more information.

Fritz Lang’s iconic science fiction film Metropolis (1927) will be screened at the Woodruff Arts Center on Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 8:30-11:30pm. That’s fantastic. What’s even better: The film–often cited as inspiration for films such as Blade Runner and The Matrix–will be shown with a live performance of a new musical score, conducted by guest composer Martin Matalon.

Continue reading German Sci-Fi classic “Metropolis” to be Screened at Woodruff Arts Center

ASC German Studies Hosts Lecture on “Degenerate Music”

When the National Socialists came to power in Germany in 1933, the decisively changed the artistic landscape: Whatever did not fit their aesthetic norms of good “Germanic” art was labeled “entartet [degenerate]”. This happened in the realm of visual art and music. To emphasize that point, traveling exhibitions labeled “Degenerate Art” and “Degenerate Music” were created in 1937 and 1938, respectively. The “Degenerate Art” exhibition presented paintings by modernist, Jewish artists in an intentionally chaotic way to persuade audiences of the supposedly inferior quality of these works. Similarly, the “Degenerate Music” exhibit presented sometimes challenging modern music out of context, trying to underscore the “primitive” nature of this type of music.

Singer and actress Adrienne Haan will lecture on the history of “Degenerate Music” at Agnes Scott’s campus on Wednesday, April 11, at 6:30pm in Bullock Science/Teasley Lecture Hall. For more information see the poster below. Read more about Adrienne Haan on her website.

Here’s a video of one of Adrienne Haan’s performances:

Adrienne Haan will perform her show “Berlin, Mon Amour” at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater on Friday, April 13. For more information, click here.


An earlier version of this post featured a draft of the poster, which did not include references to the Atlanta Goethe Cultural Center, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Musik am Freitag

We are trying out a new feature here: Every Friday, you will find a clip with music from one of the German-speaking cultures. Our goal is to find alternative, off-the-mainstream groups that give you an inside into what’s happening in the arena of music.

We’ll begin with an Austrian band called “Laokoongruppe,” a formation that explodes the boundaries between pop, free-jazz, classical music, and Austrian folklore. Hard to define, they have made a splash and continue to fascinate audiences.

As the following clip shows, street performances are an important part of their art:

You can hear some more of their music on soundcloud, especially the famed “Walzerkönig [king of waltz]”, which is described as follows:

Laokoongruppe sings passionately about his magnificent country and it’s wonderful people, good music, idyllic politics, national security, good deeds, buttered bread, mountains, lakes, cowboy hats and hiking boots. A heavy atmosphere of resigned contentedness and purposeful aimlessness winds its way throughout the album directing the listener into irresistible swaying of trancelike rapture. Walzerkönig, that is a masterpiece of German-language pop music with clearly local colouring: is to be heard in Hamburg, Berlin and Zurich, but can come in this form however only from Austria.