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Adolph Menzel  











Adolph Menzel, Am Kreuzberg bei Berlin (1847)


                  What's New
See and hear how Wagner's "Ring" was forged, in a new exhibition at NYC's Morgan Library & Museum.  (The New York Times, 1/28/16) Are refugees still welcome? "The screenplay for Merkel's downfall hasn't yet been written, but an initial rough draft already exists."  (The Economist, 1/23/15; The Atlantic, 1/25/16; Spiegel Online - International, 1/25/16) "Adolph Menzel chronicled Berlin’s transformation from a royal seat of 260,000 inhabitants into a booming, industrialized metropolis of two million people." See his work at two Berlin exhibitions commemorating his 200th birthday.  (Handelsblatt - Global Edition, 12/30/15)


                  In memoriam: David Bowie (1947-2016)
"In many respects David Bowie was like Berlin: sometimes over-hyped and overrated, but undeniably one-of-a-kind....Berlin is mourning one of its favorite adoptive sons."  (Deutsche Welle, 1/11/16) "In Berlin, Bowie made his journey from addiction to independence, from celebrity paranoia to radical, unmasked messenger..."  (Financial Times, 1/31/14; The Economist, 5/22/14) "Where are we now?" David Bowie revisits Berlin in his first new song since 2003. (The Guardian, 1/8/13; The Guardian, 1/8/12; Evening Standard, 1/9/13; Spiegel Online - International, 1/10/13; The Guardian, 1/12/13)


                   Music
"In the nineteen-seventies, the German supergroup Harmonia made music that sounds as though it could have been made this morning."  (The New Yorker, 1/20/16) Here's how "a song about a cold-blooded serial murderer written by a Marxist playwright and a leftwing composer for a musical that aimed to lay bare the hypocrisies of bourgeois morality went on to become a huge commercial success."  (Financial Times, 1/15/16) "In many respects David Bowie was like Berlin: sometimes over-hyped and overrated, but undeniably one-of-a-kind....Berlin is mourning one of its favorite adoptive sons."  (Deutsche Welle, 1/11/16)


                  Art & Design
"Art from the Holocaust," featuring 100 works from the collection of Yad Vashem, is now on display at the German Historical Museum in Berlin.  (The New York Times, 1/22/16; Deutsche Welle, 1/25/16) Meet Maria Sibylla Merian, gifted artist and naturalist whose work expanded "the male-dominated scientific world of the late seventeenth century."  (The Atlantic, 1/19/16) Giant mushrooms inscribed with the names of Dichter and Denker, an eerie forest, and a "military-style bed of lead and sheet metal made for Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist Ulrike Meinhof"—welcome to the Anselm Kiefer retrospective at the Centre Pompidou.  (Handelsblatt - Global Edition, 12/28/15; The New York Times, 12/30/15)


                  Books & Ideas
Summer Before the Dark, by Volker Weidermann (translated by Carol Brown Janeway), is a novel about Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, "men who were expelled from history by the Nazis and had to watch helplessly as it steamrollered them into oblivion."  (New Statesman, 1/25/16) It's 2016, and (a 2,000-page, heavily annotated) Mein Kampf will be on sale in German bookstores for the first time in 70 years. (The Economist, 12/19/15; Deutsche Welle, 12/29/15; The New Yorker, 12/30/15; The Guardian, 1/1/16; The New Yorker, 1/12/16; Spiegel Online - International, 1/15/16) Dietrich and Riefenstahl "is the story of two glamorous women whose achievements in another time might have been no more substantial than the images on a screen but who assumed real-life roles with the highest historical stakes."  (The New Yorker, 10/19/15; The Guardian, 10/24/15; The New York Times, 12/4/15; The Telegraph, 12/5/15)


                  Film
No hiking the Pacific Crest Trail here: Nicolette Krebitz's Wild "tells a visceral tale of a young urban woman drawn to nature in a way that will shock mere tree-huggers."  (The Hollywood Reporter, 1/23/16) Why do we find ourselves rooting for the "bad guys" in recent on-screen depictions of East Germany?  (New Statesman, 1/15/16) "When hunting for ratings, it's always springtime for Hitler." Don't expect a break from those gratuitous TV programs about Nazis anytime soon.  (Variety, 11/12/15)


                  Theater
  Sein oder Nichtsein, that is the question you'll hear especially often on German stages. (New Statesman, 11/30/15) Nearly a century after Frank Wedekind's death, his influence on the stages of New York City lives on.  (The New Yorker, 11/23/15)


                  History
Ismar Schorsch traces the emergence of a new historical study of Judaism in 19th-century Germany.  (Tablet, 12/28/15) In The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45, Nicholas Stargardt "puts flesh on the bone of familiar stereotypes," providing new insights into "a society so full of both perpetrators and victims."  (The Economist, 9/26/15; The New York Times, 11/13/15; The Guardian, 12/10/15) "The year 1907 was a pivotal one for German noise."  (BBC, 1/4/16)


                  Et Cetera
Are refugees still welcome? "The screenplay for Merkel's downfall hasn't yet been written, but an initial rough draft already exists."  (The Economist, 1/23/15; The Atlantic, 1/25/16; Spiegel Online - International, 1/25/16) "Germany reacts to being named world's best country in the most German way."  (The Washington Post, 1/21/16) "New Year's Eve in Cologne rapidly descended into a chaotic free-for-all involving sexual assault and theft, most of it apparently committed by foreigners. It has launched a bitter debate over immigration and refugees in Germany—one that could change the country."  (Spiegel Online - International, 1/8/16; The New York Times, 1/9/16; The New Yorker, 1/10/16; The New York Times, 1/15/16)