Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

GREEN LIGHT TO LIFEBALL – TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT

Vienna is buzzing and it’s not the bees pollinating the trees. The subway speakers are quoting Conchita Wurst wisdoms about love and tolerance and gay and lesbian tourists holding hands and taking snap shots outnumber those from Asia. Even the city’s pedestrian lights are flashing green pairs of ladies walking hand and hand. And this morning, heeding the Austrian “Akademische Viertel” that Viennese have extended to not just the university but all parts of life, I cum tempore c.t.-ed my way to the Press Office at 12:15 pm and picked up my bright green press pass wristband. “Vienna muses!” she said, smiling and handing me my wristband.

Vienna Lifeball

Vienna Pedestrian Crossing Lights – two ladies hand and hand

Vienna City Hall Lifeball 2015

Vienna City Hall Lifeball 2015

Armed with my ticket to the greatest party on earth, I opted to test its magic ASAP and flashed it to the guard at the Rathaus fence, who promptly let me slip in and snap a few shots of the City Hall.

The gold chariot awaits its driver and the cat walk is ready to go. The bars are up, the tent stations are manned and in less than five hours, Vienna’s craziest party of the year is about to begin.

But that’s not all. Thanks to my magical wristband, not only did I get some nice shots for you all of the Rathaus, but lo and behold, hurrying up the ramp to the stage, in a got-tons-to-do jot was Lifeball organizer, Gery Keszler himself – the man who must be utterly exhausted from all the preparations, and personally welcoming all the out-of-town “Promis” arriving at the Vienna airport. Pure adrenalin. And while I was kicking myself for not having my camera in ready-mode to get a better pix, he was all smiles and cheerful, making his rounds, checking it twice, making sure things will be perfect for the naughty and nice.

Gery Keszler

Gery Keszler – Lifeball Organizer – Making his rounds hours before the Opening

It’s time to Lifeball!!!

Find this interesting? Please share
Share

READY TO LIFEBALL

Just as only a lover can reveal to a man what life means to him and develop its innermost significance… – Austrian writer Hermann Bahr, 1901, in his “Speech on Klimt” describing Klimt’s artwork.

Gearing up for Vienna’s 2015 LifeBall

Print This Post “Dress – good buy. Worn once. Wedding.” The taxi driver gave me a thumbs up and pocketed my Euros. One thing was sure, he was happy to see that thing go.

Second sure thing, if gowns could talk, this one would have tales to tell because it was going to the Lifeball. With me!

This year’s theme? GOLD – VER SACRUM ala Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt.

Gold Accessories for Lifeball

Gold Accessories for Lifeball

Klimt! The name “…intimately associated in the art-lover’s mind with sensuous lines, erotic and beautiful women, and decorative golden detail.” (Essential Klimt)

After the confirmation that I had accomplished the next-to-impossible task of securing a ticket, I moved into action mode. That evening I charged head first into Willhaben’s “Abendkleid” collection, scouring countless computer screens and hundreds of gowns. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, my weary eyes in blurred determination spotted it like a fata morgana on a distant horizon — a flowing toga-looking dress bearing a bold gold sash and dotted with gold spheres destined for Gustav’s magic.

Close of Gown

Close of Gown

Next stop, basement of Libro in a hunt for fabric paints (don’t kids do crafts anymore?).

A kitchen table, a bottle of nail polish remover, 99 cent paintbrushes and a Klimt coffeetable book of art I had scored a few years ago for half price at Borders in North Carolina and I was set. I am no artist, but the lights in Vienna’s City Hall were bound to be forgiving. Or the alcohol flowing. Or both. Let’s face it, by midnight, all Cinderellas will have hurried home and every man, woman and Conchita is stunning in any costume.

Contrary to other Vienna balls, come 1 am at the Lifeball, it’s not just the ladies kicking off their heels to jam in their stockings, it’s the guys too. In fact, the entire night, you’re getting sympathetic nods, as they too adjust their mascara, dab some clear nail polish on the run in their ‘hose, and duck into a corner to readjust their bra straps.

Faschingsprinz

Gold Glam at Vienna’s Faschingsprinz – perfect of Lifeball accessories

“Hmm Hmm Hmmm giiirl! Where did you get such a sassy hair feather? That so accentuates the azure in that gown!” OK. Maybe the German version of that. But you get the idea. And hey! Maybe not. Because the Lifeball is without bounds and without borders. Folks are from anywhere and everywhere. And you won’t know if they are black, white, grey, brown, yellow or polka-dotted green. Speak German, English or Swahili. You also won’t know if they are homosexuals, heterosexuals, transsexuals, asexuals or what-ever. Are they male, female, neither or both? You won’t know. Because no one cares. Everyone is there to have fun, party, celebrate and raise money for a good cause. So get with the program!

Amongst this crowd, if you don’t want to blend into the background like a sparrow in a parade of peacocks, you better go for the gold and accessorize.

Fortunately, I live in the district with probably the very best shop in town for Lifeball needs – Faschingsprinz. Don’t judge this shop by its website. They seem to have last updated their important events list in 2010, but I’m sure that’s just because they’re too busy uniting creative customers with their artistic needs. No idea where to start with your Lifeball outfit? Go there. And if you’re tempted by those sparkling red no-place-like home heels, go for it. They’re bound to match someone’s leather outfit.

Armed with leis of golden flowers and sparkly Egyptian style eye make up damning me to hours of mirror time, I headed home to pimp up my parade.

Lifeball 2014

Lifeball 2014

Full Gown for Lifeball

Full Gown for Lifeball

By midnight, pleased my gown project didn’t end in disaster (I have a low success threshold when it comes to creative projects), I was sleep-deprived enough to convince myself that the smock-donning man who was still inspiring multitudes with his beautiful works of art almost a hundred years after his death would have forgiven my attempt to emulate his technique — considering it was for a good cause. But even at that hour I seriously doubted he would have exhibited the thrilled enthusiasm of the taxi driver husband who was so eager to get the gown gone that he offered to perform a home delivery on a Craigslist sale item. A good buy. A very good buy.

Friends have asked why I would want to go to a ball alone. Truth is, I only got one ticket so it wasn’t really a decision. Sure it’d be a blast to go with some friends but if last year’s ball is any indication, I’m not worried.

At the Lifeball there are no sparrows, only peacocks. And I will just sync my step with the suicidal stilettos, shiny heels, sensible sandals and ripped stockings of my fellow Dorothies dreaming of a better place somewhere over the rainbow. That in Vienna, year for year, exists for an entire amazing night. Because beyond the gold, flash, and pizazz is a celebration of “life’s innermost significance” – what distinguishes but unites us. No matter color, creed or sexual orientation. Everyone coming together in a night of awesomeness to fight HIV and AIDs and celebrate life.

Print This Post
Sparkly Red Shoes

Shoes from Faschingsprinz high and sparkly enough to transport anyone over a rainbow

And I’m ready. Ready to Lifeball.

And maybe get a selfie with Conchita Wurst!

KC’s 2014 Lifeball Good Times and Memories: Celebrating Life in the Garden of Earthly Delights

Vienna Lifeball: Vienna’s City Hall (Rathaus)

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Ball Opening: 9:30 pm
Entrances: Open as of 7:30 pm
The Vienna Ringstrasse will be closed Saturday evening from Schwarzenbergplatz to Schottentor from 6 pm – 11:30 pm.

Don’t have a ball ticket?

Come to the Rathaus (U2 Schottentor or Rathaus) and admire the costumes as ball guests enter the ball parading down the red carpet to the Vienna City Hall.

Want a preview of what’s to come? Check out the Lifeball Style Bible – Klimt’s paintings staged with live models – a feast for the eyes! No wonder the man caused a ruckus when he opted to stop painting the cherubs and go for something a bit more modern – over 100 years ago!

Find this interesting? Please share
Share

Edith Harms and Egon Schiele

“Bodies have their own light which they consume to live: they burn, they are not lit from the outside.” – Egon Schiele

Print This Post
A young girl of a proper family. Herr Papa, a Meister Locksmith, Frau Mama a Meister Hawkeye.

But the curious artist across the street with his parade of models who bare themselves for his brush, will not be deterred.

The perfect wife. Standing. Financial Means. A young artist of 25 deserves no less.

A rendezvous is out of the question. But perhaps with Wally…

His model. His muse. His soulmate. His matchmaker.

While Adele and Edith cloak themselves in layers of social acceptability and tradition, he scours the lanes of Park Schönbrunn for Wallys willing to bare all for his brush.

Pornography? Art?

The lines blur.

War.

“I’m planning to marry – most advantageously – perhaps not Wally.”

Perhaps Adele. Or Edith.

Edith.

Wife. Not model. Wife. Not Muse.

A proper lady. A proper life. A proper wife.

Edith Harms by Egon Schiele

Edith Harms by Egon Schiele

The muse must go.

The artist must fight.

The muse must die.

The artist must paint.

Soldiers. Scenes.

Three years of marriage and a third is on the way.

Spanish flu.

The wife, the unborn child must die. Three days later, he too. Print This Post

***

Exhibition: “Wally Neuzil and Her Life with Egon Schiele” – February 2 – June 1, 2015, Leopold Museum: http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/en – with info on Edith Harms.

If you speak German, I highly recommend the Sunday tours at 3 pm. My guide this past Sunday was an expert on Turn of the Century Vienna, gave lots of fascinating details and background info. The tours are free if you have an entrance ticket. Just tell the information desk next to the ticket counter you’d like to go along.

Also, there is an Audio Guide available (in English and German) and a book about Wally and Schiele (in German).

More on Egon Schiele on artsy.net site

Find this interesting? Please share
Share

Wally Neuzil and Egon Schiele

“Declare today on January 8, 1913, that I am not in love with anyone in the world. Wally” (“Sage heute am 8. Jänner 1913, dass ich in niemanden auf der Welt verliebt bin. Wally.“) – written by Wally Neuzil in the 3rd sketch book of Egon Schiele, page 39, January 8, 1913.

Print This Post A young girl of 11 years loses her father. Frau Mama has no steady job and there are also the three younger sisters and Oma to consider. Three generations of ladies pack up their meager belongings and move to the big city. Maybe there’s more work and better luck there.

School’s out of the question. After all she can read and write. The family needs to eat and a place to sleep. Over 16 registered addresses in six years. She finds odd jobs and by age 16, she becomes a model for a young artist named Egon. Not the most respectable work but Egon is kind of cute and pays better than most.

Wally in Red Blouse

“Wally with a Red Blouse with Raised Knees” Painting by Egon Schiele – private collection (image from Wikicommons)

He’s 21 years old. Long pronounced fingers stained in color and a somewhat sad face. Maybe it’s all who failed to understand him and his methods. The Gymnasium teachers. The professors at the art academy. But Klimt is encouraging. And Arthur Roessler supports his pursuit.

His style? Provocative. Sensual. Revolutionary. Controversial.

Scandalous? Indecent? Illegal?

Egon Schiele - Lovers

“Lovers” – painting by Egon Schiele (featuring probably Wally) 1913, Leopold Private Collection (image from Wikicommons)

While proper ladies of society cloak themselves in layers of social acceptability and tradition, he scours the lanes of Park Schönbrunn to find those who will help him strip away the facade and bare all for his brush.

Pornography? Art?

The lines blur.

Muse? Model? Partner?

Blur.

Modern or Criminal? Let the judge decide.

Captivity. Hope is orange. Love helps to overcome the darkest hours.

Liberation. He paints. He paints her. How many portraits? Sketches? Alone. Together. Sitting. Lying. Standing. Open. Closed. On. Off.

And then.

There yonder. Across the way. A proper family. Father, mother, two daughters. Church on Sunday. Lunch at noon. Curfews. Chaperones.

A place for him in society. And for her? He pens a note to Roessler on February 16, 1915. His eyes only.

“I’m planning to marry – most advantageously – perhaps not Wally.”

Perhaps not Wally. Perhaps not Wally? Perhaps not Wally!

Kneeling Wally

Kneeling Wally with Grey Dress – Painting by Egon Schiele – 1912 Leopold Museum (image from Wikicommons)

And to whom does he suggest to rendezvous each year for a week – most advantageously?

Wally, perhaps?

Perhaps not Egon.

A war is raging. Nurses are needed.

An opportunity. To work. To eat. To leave. Him. Vienna. For good.

She goes.

She dies.

Scarlet fever.

Aged 21.

A century passes. She perseveres. Forever young, forever seductively liberated and united with her artist – not for an annual rendezvous of love and debauchery – but for an eternity in the soul of his works.

Print This Post

***

Exhibition: “Wally Neuzil and Her Life with Egon Schiele” – February 2 – June 1, 2015, Leopold Museum: http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/en.

If you speak German, I highly recommend the Sunday tours at 3 pm. My guide this past Sunday was an expert on Turn of the Century Vienna, gave lots of fascinating details and background info. The tours are free if you have an entrance ticket. Just tell the information desk next to the ticket counter you’d like to go along.

Also, there is an Audio Guide available (in English and German) and a book about Wally and Schiele (in German).

Read more on Egon Schiele on the artsy.net Schiele page.

Find this interesting? Please share
Share