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Posts tagged ‘2015’


And you may find yourself in another part of the world…And you may ask yourself. Well…How did I get here? – Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

What you need to know before you read this: my best friend is Australian and sadly for us, she lives where the kangaroos are actually animals and not cars. What you also need to know, she usually has very good taste. But no one’s perfect.

 Best friend with questionable music taste: Getting ready for Eurovision Grand Final?! I’ll call you in (our wee morning) [two dancers pictured + fireworks or something that looks like an exploding piece of pizza.] Hope you’re covering it.

No. In fact. I had been gracefully ignoring it. All week. Stubbornly. Even through the steady stream of music flowing from the Eurovision Village through my open work window every single day. For hours on end.

Me: [non-committal smiley].

Didn’t want to rain on her parade — after all I heard somewhere (there was no avoiding news of the big event all week) that the Aussies were Eurovision Contest virgins which could partially excuse their oh-so-pink, squeaking giddiness.

Best friend with questionable music taste: [More smileys] [Equally stubborn]. Are you excited?

Me: I’ll be excited when it’s over [speak-no-evil monkey emoticon] You guys are nuts.

Eurovision Village - Rathaus Vienna 2015

Eurovision Village – Rathaus Vienna 2015

And then…

Before I could exclaim, “My God! What have I done? How did I get here?” I found myself in a room with a bunch of Eurovision song contest enthusiasts at midnight on Friday night, weighing in on the ill-placed shoulder pads of one country’s jury announcer, the unfortunate on-coming traffic background image of another’s (don’t they have better sites to show off to the world in Georgia?) and the all-too frequent navel-line (as opposed to neckline) trend in many of the dresses. Oh yeah – and let’s not forget Miss Poland’s bird-nest-in-hair-accessory.

Fate has a cruel sense of humor. When it comes to fashion. When it comes to me.

Twenty-seven countries. Two-hundred and fifty artists and 200 million people watching! 

I think I must have been the 200 millionth person to join in.

Me: U watching. I was forced… [see-no-evil monkey emoticon]

Best friend with questionable music taste: Isn’t it fantastic! [smiley] We got up at 4:45 am!! We can even vote this year [more smiley, martini glass].

Me: It’s horrible

Best friend with questionable music taste: Haha. 30 secs left. Are we ready !!!! (sic) [lots of icons that look like exploding dancing pizza slices]

Two minutes in and I digress to white-knuckling it with the Austrians. “Come on! 12 points for Austria!”

Ten minutes in and we are all in consensus that Austria needs just a point or two. “Slovenia! They like Austria! They’re bound to give us points!”

Twenty minutes in and it’s all about Austria at least getting a point more than Germany.

Me: No pts 4 AT. You guys are Austria’s only hope! [Help us, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope]

Best friend with questionable music taste: [two icons – no longer smiling – one looking more distraught than the next] What were we thinking? Poor Austria.

After an hour, entire room pleads with TV and we make a diplomatic concession. “Fine! No points. But none for Germany either. Ja?”

Vienna Subway Song Contest Map

Vienna Subway Song Contest Map

Best friend with questionable music taste: We have Conchita.

Me: Conchita Unstoppable! What is she doing?

Best friend with questionable music taste: Standing with that silver thing over her jumpsuit – why do people wear jumpsuits?

At 2 am, the buzz of Eurovision contest slowly waning, the roomful of Austrians and I evaluate the wreckage. After Conchita’s mind-boggling victory last year,  Austria’s anthem has diminuendoed into Estonia’s song entry: “Good-bye Yesterday.”

Zilch for Austria. Not one of the 27 countries voting gave Austria’s Makemakes a single point.

But Austria can proudly boast it now tops some other lists: Not only as the only country to achieve no points the most times in the 60 year history of the song contest, but also as the first host country ever to receive zero points from any of its guests. But Viennese are renown for their golden hearts and no doubt in an effort to save face for their guests, simply noted, “As good hosts, we didn’t want to take anyone else’s points away.”

Ahhh. Aren’t they as sweet as a Lebkuchen Herzerl?

And the Aussies? A not-too-shabby 5th place with 196 points! So deserved for ruffling themselves out of the hay to voluntarily (!) be inundated with glitter, glam and bubble gum music. Heaps of fun, eh Matey? And my friend deserved it – a point for every exclamation mark she texted me in the past week.

And the winning entry? Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlöw with the song “Heroes” with the lyrics “We are the heroes of our time.”

Austria slung herself back up onto the winning stage in my book, though. While Mans was no doubt nursing his hangover from a night of victory celebrations, Dodo, Markus and Flo were busy putting together their next video, which is destined to go viral: “We are the Zeroes of our time.”

How can you not love those guys?

All’s well that ends well.

Austria may have not gotten a single point but neither did Germany.



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.


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!