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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bookparade

Last Monday, on the occasion of the UNESCO World Book Day, the Verein Leseförderung Schweiz 4xL and the School applied Linguistics organised the first Bookparade in Zürich.

I only learnt of this event 1 hour before from the free newspaper heute. For me as a bookworm it was clear that I had to participate :). The idea of the Bookparade was that every participant would bring his/her favourite book and walk reciting loudly from the main station to the Theater am Neumarkt. Being surprised by the event I didn't have a book at hand, but a short detour to Orell Füssli's English Bookshop solved that problem. My choice was Jasper Fforde's 'Something Rotten' the fourth adventure of Thursday Next and one I didn't yet have as a paperback.

About 200 people participated in the demonstration to promote reading. The procession was shortly halted at the Hirschenplatz where a poetry slammer recited an entertaining story about books. After the parade there was a festival at the Theater am Neumarkt where several authors read excerpts from their works. Unfortunately I had some things to finish at home and so I missed that part.

However, I'll be going back next year :)

Two videos have found their way into the net (here and here) maybe you can spot me there (I didn't have time yet to watch them myself).

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The magical portal 2: The silver mask

Last weekend was the occasion of the long-awaited sequel to the LARP "The magical portal". During this con I played Rakar Kaîrun, a merchant and a member of the Oriosen. Here a short "in-time" summary of the events.

"I travelled together with Moya our healer. By the time we arrived at the tavern we were slightly worried that Bronwyn and Jaeshra didn't meet us in the arranged place… we just could hope that nothing happened to them. We were surprised by the amount of people present; obviously we weren't the only ones who were asked for help. After an excellent dinner Lady Myria addressed us explaining the problems of the valley. For some time now cattle has been disappearing and she didn't have enough men to look for the root of this.

It didn't take long until we found a possible reason for the disappearances. Lizard like beings approached the house and were mercilessly killed by the mercenaries. Apart from these skirmishes the evening remained calm. Sleep, however, wasn't so easy to come by. Just as Moya and I climbed into bed we received news that other Oriosen had arrived and were badly wounded. It was Bronwyn and Jaeshra. They had been fleeing from the lizards for several days and had been wounded just as they were about to reach safe shelter. Fortunately there were enough healers present and they were soon on the mend.

On Saturday morning we joined forces with Lord Victor and his Sinfathi to search for special elements which could help remove the threat. The first expedition was fruitful and five elements were found. On our return Jae and the Sinfathi assembled the elements and discovered that another two or three were missing. The continuation of the search was hindered by the appearance of an Earth Elemental, followed by a visit from an evil Black Mage, who claimed to own the valley and wanted revenge for his killed friends, the lizards. A shaky truce could be arranged, giving us more time to look for the missing elements.

Throughout the day we were kept busy with locating the last two elements, visits from the Water and Air Elementals, as well as skirmishes with the lizards. Everyone was extremely grateful for the healers; some fighters were constantly commuting between the front line and the sick bay. A ritual protected the house and its inhabitants from the Black Mage and the lizards throughout the night. However, we weren't aware, that the spell vanished as soon as dawn came and so we were abruptly awakened by charging lizards. The seasoned warriors were sleeping with their weapons close at hand and so the attack could be averted with minimal losses.

All morning the lizards kept attacking the house and it took a while until Shakti and I could escape through a window, sneak around the lizards in front of the house and eliminate them from the back. Now we had at least some space to defend ourselves and weren’t confined to the house.

After a while the lizards stopped attacking and we were surprised by a visit of the elves. They brought an altar, which later was used to hold the ritual with the completed elements. We received four stones which could be used either to protect us from evil or to destroy the Black Mage; the priests weren't too sure on that point.

As the tension grew almost unbearable a woman from the town came to us and told us of the evil hordes that had gathered behind the hill and which had taken a hostage. So we marched united to either destroy the evil wizard or die trying.

The final battle was extremely tough. We formed a circle for better protection near the river, but the lizards ceaselessly kept attacking. Seeing that the stones didn't offer protection we chose plan two and the four chosen ones (Jaeshra one of them) charged up to the Mage and enclosed him in a circle. Bronwyn and I were close at hand to protect Jae, but as if we were protected from the gods, no one in this group was harmed. And so we managed to vanquish the Black Mage and free the valley from this menace. The remaining lizards fled through the magical gate, which closed behind them.

And so we returned home in the knowledge of having made new friends and rescued innocent people from a dark threat."

My pictures can be found on my homepage.
More galleries can be found here.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Subway to Sally: Naked (Acoustic Tour)

For the second time on their Acoustic Tour Subway to Sally made a stop in Zürich. The first time was almost a year ago when they played in the Rohstofflager. Now they were hosted by Palais X-tra. After the fantastic show last year and the incredible Live-CD and DVD there was no question for me. I just had to go! After studying the concert description I had some reserves though. The concert was scheduled to begin at 8.30pm (doors should open at 8pm) and at 10pm a party should start. That would mean only a meager 90 minutes, which is quite short a concert for Subway.

Those worries were however eased once we got into the concert location. There we saw that the start of the party was rescheduled to 11pm. Subway began on time (for a change) and played a furious set which lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes, including three encores. They played almost exactly the same set as last time and as on the DVD, but that was ok. Because whilst playing an acoustic set of their most famous songs Subway is simply unbeatable as a medieval-live performer.

As expected the club was only half filled, but those present were mostly die-hard fans and sang along to all songs as well as encouraging the band continuously. For example, we earned the third encore by singing "Julia und die Räuber" seven times :).

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Andreas Thiel, Les Papillons & Labia

My Saturday evening started with something a bit more political: We went to the Theater am Hechtplatz in Zürich to view Politsatire 2 the new program of Andreas Thiel with Les Papillons as "Supporting Act". Thiel built his program on the success factors of the past: again he was on stage with a continuously refilling glass of champagne, again he had fun playing with the light (entering onto a pitch-dark stage, asking for house light to see the audience) and again his jokes were very sophisticated and not politically correct at all. But these are the reasons why I did go to see his show and I had a blast :). Les Papillons, actually the main act of the evening, Thiel was only making the announcements between their pieces, played a more dramatic and earnest set, giving their funnier arrangements a miss for once. They even managed to play an extremely political piece questioning America's foreign policy (as a reminder: Les Papillons are a violinist and a pianist and they play arrangements of existing compositions)! To sum up: it was a full success. The audience clapped so insistently that Thiel gave one of the famous Don Serapio sketches as an encore.

But the evening didn't end there! After a short reprieve at the lake, the weather is just fantastic!, I went to the next gig. A concert by Labia in the occupied house, formerly known as Juventus school. For an occupied house the party rooms were pretty decent. There was a bar with cheap drinks, a couple of sofas to hang around and enough electricity for the music. The atmosphere reminded me of a band room. Only the drum kit was on a small stage. Everything else was on the same floor as the audience and thus it was possible to dance between the band :). The quality of the concert was pretty bad, first off the sound equipment wasn't too good, then there was no mixer present and so Fernando had to change the settings between the songs himself. As if this wasn't bad enough, Fernando's hair got caught in Ari's guitar after the second song, leaving the guitar out of tune. Ari tried to do his best with tuning the guitar, but it was hard with so much background noise. Despite all these difficulties Labia managed to complete their set and entertain the audience, which gladly danced away. There wasn't such a big moshpit as in Winterthur but at least there was some action. What I liked most during this concert was the atmosphere. Being so close to (even between the band at times) was very special.

And thus this evening will remain in my memories for a while :).

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Labia & Backwash @ Kraftfeld

After a two-year absence Labia returned to the Kraftfeld in Winterthur and same as last time they played together with Backwash again. Kraftfeld is a cute little club close to the former Sulzer Areal, in addition to a stylish bar there is a separate room where the concerts and parties are held. The stage is pretty small though and so the five guys from Backwash had to stand close together to all find a place to play. But Backwash weren't the only ones who had to stand together, the audience had to as well. Backwash played according to their music style, they rocked, rolled and kicked ass! They played a very solid show which lasted all of an hour. They even had to give an encore to please the crowd.

About two meters above the stage was a platform. On it Phillip's drum kit was installed and loomed there as a promise of what was to come. And so after a short break Labia took to the stage and performed one of their best shows in recent history. After a short time, in which people got tuned in to Labia's sound, the crowd went simply bonkers. I can't remember having seen such a heavy moshpit in any Labia concert, except maybe their now legendary performance at Krach am Bach back in 2003. Their show was very well staged. Phillip's position above the rest of the band was greatly enhanced by the lighting and so for once he was equally visible on stage as the rest of the band. The crowds energy flowed back on stage and Labia used and enforced it by their powerful and hard set. Even though Fernando insisted that they didn't have an encore to play, the crowd didn't let loose until they played Limbus. During which Ari's guitar had a breakdown due to a too enthusiastic moshpitter who landed on stage... but they managed to bridge the pause until Ari found a workaround to finish the song. And so ended one of Labia's longest gigs, which lasted well over an hour.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

An (almost) perfect Saturday

Yesterday was one of those days that are almost perfect and great fun to experience.

First up was a board-game / karaoke afternoon at Melissa's place. There I've learned a couple of useful things during karaoke, besides the fact that I can't sing, but I already knew that before. 1. Don't try to sing a song from Papa Roach if you don't know the Rap-parts by heart. 2. Breaking the Habit on the other hand did work, if you ignore the fact that I almost lost my voice trying to get up high enough *g*. 3. Do sing classic pop songs such as "Always look at the bright side of Life" (from Life of Brian) and "Chim Chimeree" (from Marry Poppins), because they're just terrific fun :)

But it didn't end there. The evening continued in Lucerne. There I attended a concert by Anxiety, Mole and (did you guess already?) Labia. The Kulturzentrum Boa couldn't have been a bigger contrast to their last gig in Erstfeld. The room was tiny, as was the stage. However there were enough people to fill the room and they were intent on having a good time and were supporting the bands avidly. To the bands. First up was Anxiety from Langenthal. They describe themselves as Death Rock and, to be frank, for me it was too much Death and not enough Rock ;). Anyways they did a good job and the crowd was pleased. Next up was Labia, who played another fantastic hardcore set. To my great delight I wasn't the only guy in front of the stage head banging, that's quite a change to the last two gigs. So it is fair to say, that this was one of their best shows recently, they played very powerful and accurate. In addition they managed to transfer their energy and enthusiasm to the audience who gladly accepted and had a great time. Last to play were Mole from Basel. They presented a technically top notch performance and convinced me to buy their latest EP to appreciate their music more regularly :).

But the night didn't end there either. Next was a visit to the Abart. There the Masters of Rock party was just slowing down, by the time I arrived. It was 3am after all. Still the songs the dj's played were very cool and a couple of my favorites were among them. In addition I had time to chat with a couple of friends I haven't seen in a while.

And that's all folks. I got home extremely tired but very happy :).

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