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Duck, Death, and the Tulip  











An illustration from Wolf Erlbruch's Duck, Death and the Tulip


                  What's New
"But it's increasingly clear that one country's allegedly evidence-based Besserwisserei is another country's intolerable smugness."  (Foreign Policy, 4/27/17) Kassel's famed quinquennial has moved to Athens. "This Hellenized Documenta is sometimes forceful, often obscure, and in places exhaustingly proud of itself."  (The New York Times, 4/9/17; Hyperallergic, 4/10/17; Politico, 4/14/17) Congratulations to Wolf Erlbruch, winner of the Astrid Lindgren memorial award for children's literature.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/4/17; The Guardian, 4/4/17)


                  Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
When Merkel met Trump . . . low expectations were duly met.  (The Economist, 3/18/17; The New York Times, 3/18/17; AICGS, 3/22/17) Welcome to "the old German nightmare: the fear of being a large, isolated power at the centre of Europe." But this time "Germany's current loneliness has very little to do with the country's own malign behaviour."  (Financial Times, 3/6/17) What does the decline of democracy look like? Ask a German historian.  (Die Zeit, 2/1/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/5/17; Gothamist, 2/6/17; Slate, 2/10/17; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/17; The Nation, 2/28/17; The New York Review of Books, 4/20/17)


                   Music
In The Political Orchestra, Fritz Trümpi examines the experiences of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras under National Socialism.  (Times Higher Education, 2/9/17; Literary Review, 3/2017) The conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler was "naïve, vain, fatherly, occasionally high-handed and unstintingly devoted to his art."  (Gramophone, 3/1/17) "Slowly but surely, Germany has played catch-up with Weill’s music — in particular through the Kurt Weill festival in Dessau, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary."  (The New York Times, 3/9/17)


                  Art & Design
Kassel's famed quinquennial has moved to Athens. "This Hellenized Documenta is sometimes forceful, often obscure, and in places exhaustingly proud of itself."  (The New York Times, 4/9/17; Hyperallergic, 4/10/17; Politico, 4/14/17) Built as "an unmissable nomument to Communism's soaring future," the Berliner Fernsehturm "is still the tallest structure in Germany and the only European TV tower located in a metropolitan center."  (The New York Times, 4/6/17) "Since 1991, with an interval between 1999 and 2006, photographer Herlinde Koelbl has met the German chancellor once every year, taken a portrait and interviewed her, often asking the exact same questions as the year before."  (The Washington Post, 3/29/17; The Guardian, 4/5/17)


                  Books & Ideas
Congratulations to Wolf Erlbruch, winner of the Astrid Lindgren memorial award for children's literature.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/4/17; The Guardian, 4/4/17) Happy (?) 60th birthday, united Europe.  The Frankfurt School (via @NeinQuarterly) offers you "the necessity and urgency of critique and self-critique — with little to no assurance of making any difference."  (Foreign Policy, 3/24/17) Danke, Rebecca Schuman, for bringing us Schadenfreude: A Love Story, a bildungsroman channeling "the weltschmerz of a former wunderkind rejected by the professoriat and exiled to the creative lumpenproletariat." The freude is ours!  (Slate, 2/16/17)


                  Film
Greg Gerke takes a closer look at Toni Erdmann's "anti-Hollywood ending."  (Los Angeles Review of Books, 3/17/17) "On the Firing Line With the Germans" gives us a rare glimpse of the Kaiser's army in 1915— through the eyes of American filmmakers.  (The Washington Post, 2/7/17) "Marx and Engels meet cute" in The Young Karl Marx, an intelligent communist bromance directed by Raoul Peck.  (The Guardian, 2/12/17)


                  Theater
NYC's Segal Center hosted a preview of Elfriede Jelinek's new play, On the Royal Road: The Burgher King ("a provocative European perspective on Donald Trump's persona"), and you, too, can watch online.  (The New York Times, 3/24/17; Deutsche Welle, 3/28/17; YouTube, 3/29/17) From the land of "long entertainment," Wagner's Ring Cycle is the original binge-watching experience.  (The Washington Post, 4/14/16) See a recreation of the Lichtburg rehearsal space and much more, in a Bonn exhibition devoted to the work of Pina Bausch.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/4/16)


                  History
It's the Shortest History of Germany, if not the best informed. "No doubt many true scholars of German history will take issue with Hawes's book."  (The Observer, 4/24/17; The Oldie, 6/2017) "Hitler and the Nazis still, for many obvious reasons, provide the grim benchmark for the worst of what politics and humanity can become. But the temptation to invoke him to score a political point is one best left alone."  (The Washington Post, 4/12/17) In the United States, "World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent and even the German language."  (NPR, 4/7/17)


                  Et Cetera
"But it's increasingly clear that one country's allegedly evidence-based Besserwisserei is another country's intolerable smugness."  (Foreign Policy, 4/27/17) "The easy times of postfeminism are over," says Alice Schwarzer.  Her feminist magazine EMMA just turned 40.  (The New York Times, 3/31/17) Berlin, of course: "Nowhere else outside Moscow and St Petersburg boasts so many Russian painters, musicians, composers and writers, drawn by the city’s cheap rents and alternative vibe."  (Financial Times, 3/24/17)