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Posts from the ‘Dance’ Category

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR IN VIENNA

So here it is – proof that KC got your back: KC’s All-You-Need-to-Know-About New Year’s – compiled over the years to keep you in-the-know and provide ample Vienna New Year’s 101 to enable you to blend in smoothly with the natives before everyone hits the Turbo Punsch stands. You’ve got time till Thursday night so no excuses. Get over the cookie hangover and get reading. Even if you aren’t in Austria – nothing says you can’t do crazy hats, waltz, good luck charms, Glühwein and the New Year’s Day concert where you are and make your 2016 New Year’s Resolution: “I’ll take the plunge and ring in 2017 in Vienna.”

  1. The Number One Most New Year’s City in the World: A must-read post. It’s all here. Complete with photos from my last New Year’s Eve.
  2. Melting Your Fortune Sculpture for the New Year: Everything you always wanted to know about the Austrian fortune-telling tradition of Bleigiessen (lead melting), including a complete why-to-buy, how-to-do-it, what is now being used  nowadays instead of lead and a list of blob fortune-telling interpretations so that once you melt your figure, you can actually interpret your future.

    Lucky Pigs

    Lucky Pigs

  3. Austrian Good Luck Charms and What They Mean: Got Glück? Good Luck Charms and Got Pig? Pigs (and other symbols) as Glücksbringer 
  4. Recipe for Glühwein in “How to Make Glühwein (Mulled Wine) and Spread Good Cheer.” I make a large pot of Glühwein every New Year’s Eve and keep it (along with a pot of my mean down-home chili) on the stove so that before and after the venture along the New Year’s Path, it is there for the taking.

Stay safe this coming New Year’s, have fun, wear a crazy hat and waltz!

Me - New Year's Eve in Vienna

Me – New Year’s Eve in Vienna with lit ears

Thanks for keeping with me this past year.
I wish you and yours all the best in 2016!

 

 

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THINGS TO DO IN VIENNA – WALTZ

Austrians are required to master two skills in life – ski­ing and waltzing. More than 400 balls take place each year in Vienna, and these balls are host to more than 300,000 guests. Balls are sponsored by occupational groups, trade unions, universities, and interest groups — if you’ve got an interest, Vienna’s got the ball.

With Vienna’s long-time love for balls, it’s not surprising that the man responsible for the popularity of the waltz and known during his lifetime as the “The Waltz King,” Johann Strauss II, lived in Vienna. Thankfully, young Johann rebelled against his father’s demands that he become a banker and went on to compose over 500 waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles during his lifetime. At 60 beats per minute, the Viennese Waltz is one of the fastest types of traditional ballroom dance music.

But fast or slow, dancing can be a challenge for those of us who grew up outside Waltzland. Probably during his stint in Vienna, Mark Twain remarked, “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching.” In other words, take heart and join those Austrians on the dance floor. Even if you don’t know how to 1-2-3, 1-2-3 you can still have a great time with the right attitude. But even Austrians won’t turn a blind eye to one thing that can’t be overlooked for the waltz—and that’s a missing dance partner. Fortunately there’s a fix to that problem as well.

Hallway at Kaffeesiederball during Midnight Show

Hallway at Kaffeesiederball outside main ballroom during the midnight show performance

Taxi Dancer to the rescue! For an hourly fee, you can hire your own personal Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers to help you dance the night away. What first appeared in dance halls in the United States during the early 20th century has gained a revival in Vienna’s ballrooms where the male population can be as depressingly dance-lazy as everywhere else. The Taxi Dancing Darlings are bound by strict codes of behavior but available for all kinds of dance functions. In fact, some of the taxi dancer agen­cies’ best customers are retirement home residents.

My friend and I do a Lifeball selfie

My friend and I at the Lifeball which is sadly postponed a year this season

So no excuses. Put on your dance shoes, and 1-2-3, 1-2-3 the night away.

Post of this year’s ball calendar coming soon…

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

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