Lifeball 2010

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Lifeball 2010

I’m a lucky bastard. I really am. I do, for example, have friends who think of me when they have spare tickets to events. Like a couple of weeks ago when I was treated to a concert of Them Crooked Vultures. Or, well, yesterday, when a good friend of mine had a spare ticket for the Vienna Lifeball. And not just a simple ticket (which still goes for 150€) but a VIP ticket with free food, drink and an actual table to sit at and watch people.

In case you’re not familiar with the Lifeball, it’s a charity event that started out as a small AIDS awareness party and today is probably the one party in Vienna, or Austria really, that most people who are into parties would love to attend. Well, here’s the official website, they do a much better job explaining what it’s all about.

Anyway, I got that ticket and I must admit, I’m probably the least deserving person to do so. First of all, lots of people dress up for this event. And I don’t mean dress up by wearing a suit. I mean dress up by thinking up a bizarre, fantastically outrageous costume, working on it for weeks and then spending hours to get it to sit perfectly. Me? I don’t like dress-up.

Second, I’m not one for huge parties. I like sitting down, sipping on my beer, smoking a cigarette and being my misanthropic self.

The good thing is, I’m also a fantastic freeloader. If it’s free, I’ll take it. You should see all the crap I got at home, only because someone told me it’s free. Ok, so that’s not entirely true. Most of the crap I own I actually bought. But that’s for another time.

Well, so I went there, and yes, it was actually quite fun. Unfortunately, the opening ceremony, which is always quite impressive, had to be discontinued due to a massive rainstorm. Fortunately, there was still time enough for me to get exceptionally wet.

The rest of the evening and night was filled with delicious food, loads and loads of crazily creative costumes, even more photographers taking pictures of said costumes and the feeling that this was the party of a lifetime. Well, not really. But there was music and there were people gyrating to that, so I guess it was quite alright.

Lifeball Cortillion

All in all, it was a memorable night, not least because I’ve never seen so many virtually naked people in Vienna’s city hall.

By the way, there are always people lamenting how the Lifeball has deteriorated to a mere large-scale party, isn’t about the fight against AIDS anymore and is selling out by having ads all over the place, yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, if you’re one of those, fuck off. I’m pretty sure AIDS won’t be cured by your bitching either.

For all the others, here’s a link to the slideshow of the rest of the pictures I took.

And for fuck’s sake, use rubbers.

Oceansize, Flex, 09

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It’s not that long ago that I wrote on here about one of the best concerts I’d ever been to. It was Oceansize’s gig at Vienna’s Flex, about two years ago.

I was quite ecstatic, and for solid reasons. First of all, I was in the fortunate position to interview lead-singer Mike Vennart, which in itself is always a nice way to start a night. And second they simply played a fantastic set, seemed to be really into it and, last but not least, the audience seemed to be too.

Last Monday, they played again in Vienna, again at the same venue. The vivid memories from their last gig still fresh in my mind, I went there with great expectations, sky-high I’d like to think in retrospect. Can you guess what happened next? In case my powers of dramatic storytelling have failed me once again, I’ll tell you. It was disappointing.

First of all, they didn’t seem to be too taken with their audience, and the audience didn’t either. I think it didn’t help that lead-singer Mike Vennart repeatedly told them that he’d appreciate if people went outside or to the back to smoke. While I do understand that it must be tough to sing in a smoke-filled club, it’s never a good idea to tell people to do one of the two things that people do at clubs, namely smoke and drink. Especially in Vienna.

Apart from those rather unhealthy dynamics, they also played a set-list with many either very new or yet unreleased songs. They didn’t play a single song off Frames, their latest LP, which I think is their best (which is of course no reason for them to think so too, but fuck, I’d have loved to hear “Trail of Fire”. Or at least “Only Twin”). And after a rather short concert, they played just that one encore. Which actually was quite awesome, I must say.

Didn’t help, though. In the end, it was a great band’s disappointing concert. Which I think is somehow worse than the other way round.

Barcamp Vienna 09

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Modul University
Last weekend saw the 2009 edition of another Barcamp here in Vienna. As always since the inception of two-day barcamps, I only managed to attend one of the two days.

The location was amazing, not only because private Modul University is allowing you a fantastic view all over Vienna but because it somehow manages to motivate some of their student so far as to spend their spare time working at a Barcamp. And even though I’m always a bit spooked out by that sort of efficiency, I must admit that the organisation was absolutely flawless. Hell, they even had a name tag printed out for me!

The sessions were quite mixed but I managed to find a couple that turned out to be rather entertaining. Especially the last session on Saturday about the venerable Austrian “Internetrat” was both enlightening and madly amusing.

And I also managed to be a bit social, expanding the list of Twitter followers I’ve met in real life by, among others, @liechentecker, @sueholzer and @leyrer, not to mention all the new people now showing up in my Twitter stream.

Thanks again to the organizers and all those people who prepared sessions, you did a very fine job.

Here’s a couple more pictures, for the more graphically inclined.

Atheist Bus Campaign in Vienna – or not

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After starting in London and then spreading to various other European Cities, the Atheist Bus Campaign is a private-sponsor funded project created to make people aware of the rather high probability that there is indeed no god:

Atheist Bus Photo by benteka/Flickr

The campaign created quite a stir and currently the organizers are raising more money to fund similar projects. Which leads me to the point of this very entry. In Vienna it was planned to have an adapted German message cruising the city on buses of the “Wiener Linien“, the municipal transportation service.

Only turns out it won’t be so, according to the website of the Austrian bus-campaign [DE]. Seems like Wiener Linien, usually not so shy about ads on their vehicles, refused the banners. There’s no official statement yet as to why they did, but according to organizer Niko Alm a written statement is expected later today.

I’m not terribly surprised, really, but I’m looking forward to the ensuing hilarity.