Some Vienna Train Photos

Cleaning my camera out and found these from the day I left Vienna, catching the train from Wien-Meidling to Berlin it passed Arsenal where I’d been the day before returning my ImPulsTanz bike, and then trundled over the Danube. I decided to stop photographing after that, and just stare out the window.

Fest Premiere


Saturday night 11pm sold-out premiere pushed to 1130 and closing in on 1am before it was all over, then off to the ImPulsTanz Lounge for eating, drinking and my one post-premiere cigarette. Besides “underwater microphone” problem (sweat-soaked, that is), everything went gloriously. And now I feel I can talk about all the things as they are no longer rehearsal-room goings-on, I’ll blog properly, and with pictures. One more show tonight, also.

Fest — 7 (and various things)

The last week we spent back in the Volks Oper rehearsal studios where we remain until later today when we retrace our steps to Kasino Theater for two probably gloriously chaotic days of setting up, rehearsing, and on Saturday night, performing. In the meantime, Giacomo arrived from Italy (and has been occupied watching Breaking Bad until the early morning hours) and the coffee intake has naturally increased.

Back one week. The bike ride in +30º late-afternoon summer warmth from Währinger Str to Wien-Meidling train station turned out to be somewhat longer than expected, and Dasniya’s train was early. We met nonetheless, on the platform, she with a suitcase bearing a blackly iridescent travelling companion, some kind of tenacious flying beetle that had accompanied her and refused to depart. We left it in the grass on the Gürtel as we made our way homeward, me still to return to rehearsal.

The weekend for me was split between rehearsing and Dasniya’s workshop, with a beautiful group of women in the Shibari Dojo, off Mariahilferstr just the other side of the Gürtel. A came along on Tuesday evening also, and found myself tied and slapped by Klaus, the physicist who came to our ImPulsTanz workshop last year.

Rehearsals, then. It’s a little like writing code. When one part is touched up, it shows how another part can be made more elegant, which in turn shows often unexpected inconsistencies and oddities in completely unrelated places. By the end of last week we’d more-or-less found an end and much of the work has been going back and forth the length of the work, rewriting, cutting, editing. Switching rehearsing from Kasino to Volks Oper also has changed it; the latter is very much a rehearsal space.

From my point of view writing here, having seen so many times those very disturbing moments in the first two acts, and how they sit within the text, it’s difficult to say much without giving things away. The Saturday is a 11pm, and the day will be around 36º, which means Kasino will be an airless oven, somehow appropriate for the ghastly eighty-minute goings-on of the three acts.

We seem to have come to conclusions in the work, in the text; every pass through and run becomes a more fine stitching of things. Decisions are often on the most detailed level now, how a person moves, turns their head, pauses solves the problem or gives the meaning on the larger scale. Still things to decide though, music, costumes, lights (Giacomo runs a lighting desk on his laptop and spent yesterday programming some broad ideas – much better than having to wait for non-existent access to the theatre and having to tangle with a new board), how to shave off various minutes from the acts. Returning to Kasino I think will answer a lot of this, and obviously make a hash of things we thought were sorted.

And perhaps some photos on Sunday, after the premiere.


Lainzer Tiergarten Once Again

When the weather forecast in Berlin says ‘Wolkig’, it means a certain overcast, not as thick and heavy as, say ‘Bedeckt’, which I think of as beneath a flooring of clouds in the same way one might be besieged in a crypt beneath a stone ceiling, but nonetheless, an absence of the blue stuff. Basically any forecast of clouds in Berlin is merely referring to how near the ground the blanketing is, and how grey, rather than any sky-to-cloud ratio one would expect in normal conversations about meteorology.

So today, on my day off and with plans once again to wander through Lainzer Tiergarten (I’d deserted my other hiking possibilities as I’m less than sure of the other forests girdling Vienna) and with the forecast being wolkig, I was expecting a nice, shady hike with perhaps some wild boars foraging, and to mostly follow the route I took while working with Hans, that cold, very rainy and windy day last time I was here. Lucky I slathered on the sunblock as the day was mostly absent from cloud, except for the half hour or so I spent reading and taking lunch at Hubertuswarte.

Last week, I cut my wandering short, feeling the onset of blisters, and spent the next two days hilariously sore in hamstrings from the ascent – that’s what happens when you live in a city where the slightest rise of say, half a metre in the length of a suburb is regarded as a serious hill-climbing challenge. This week, embracing the certainly foolish, “Yup, I got the soreness out last week,” I decided for a longer route, and discovered it’s definitely the easier way to get to the top of the hill, taking about three times as long to cover the same elevation. In turn, on the descent, I was passed in the opposite direction by a staggering bunch of individuals suffering their way upwards by running. Most amusing for me and I wondered how much enjoyment they got out of the actual forest, some with earbuds, and all with pasty and grimly ground-focussed expressions of “this is good for me,” in the high-twenties Vienna temperatures that are the equivalent of ten degrees warmer in Adelaide.

The less steep parts were thankfully depopulated of such stupidity, and I even got to see a family of five wild boars and their several piglets in the fields around Johannser Kogel, heard a couple of woodpeckers, and generally had a smashing time stumping around in my boots. Came home, promptly fell asleep.

Dasniya Sommer Yoga & Shibari, July in Vienna


A quick note that Dasniya is coming to Vienna in the third week of July to teach at the Shibari Dojo Vienna. More details in the coming days, but for now:

A two and a half days bondage-yoga class will be held at the Shibari Dojo Vienna.

  • Friday, 19.7., 6pm-11pm
  • Saturday, 20.7., 12am-7pm
  • Sunday 21.7., 12am-7pm

120/90€ for 2 1/2 days
Tuesday evening: 10 euro donation
Individual classes: costs by negotiation

Please contact either: at the Shibari Dojo Vienna for further information and registration.

Lainzer Tiergarten Again

A very late start, early afternoon I took off to Lainzer Tiergarten for my third visit in as many years. The last time I hiked my way through it was raining, cold, and seriously windy atop Hubertuswarte, some 300 meters above Vienna and the highest point in the forest. Today was quite the opposite, sunny to the point of distracting, pleasantly warm, and full of the type of people for whom mucking about in crappy weather holds no charm.

It’s a curious place, walled in and full of wild animals – I encountered two groups of foraging boars, mothers with a clutch of tiny spot-striped bairns – heavily cropped, indeed despite the mass of mature trees it’s equally a forest of chainsawed stumps and it’s rare to find a stretch without it being framed by some manner of arboreal butchery, and quite limited for proper hiking possibilities as all the attractive looking trails with plenty of vertical variation have signs saying, “Bitte niche betreten”. Whether this is to protect idiot people from being gored by the many horn-bearing beasts, or them from us is unclear, the result however is that almost all wandering is circumscribed to basically narrow dirt access trails.

Still, from Nikolaitor to Hubertuswarte is an enjoyable upward trek broken twice by stretches of downwardness, and both times then followed by more upwardness to regain what was just lost. Some people run it. They tended to be middle-aged or older and, like the 70-ish year old granny who nearly overtook me with her trekking poles, made me feel pathetic.

I made it as far as Hubertuswarte and sat on the top eating and reading Iain Banks. I could have stayed there all day, but it was as busy as a once-daily rural bus stop, so having aired and dried my feet, I retraced my steps. Originally I planned from there to continue a loop, coming back along the east side to arrive at Wiener Blick (a nice uphill stretch to there, having bled off all that altitude down to Hermesville), but having not worn my boots for a long while I could feel blisters would start appearing if there was much more walking up hills.

The way back, once I’d reached Nikolaitor was a most excellent, hilariously fast and smooth bike ride along the Wienfluß Radweg, getting spat out at Hietzing and deciding to go along whatever street took my fancy (Penzingerstr into Mariahilferstr) back to home. And the bike needs servicing again. By God does this one get dirty and whiney. Probably something to to with riding it in muddy rainstorms in the forest. And once again the infernal cantilever brake judder, which is so bad it feels like my forks are going to blow apart. I spent an hour or so reading on possible fixes for this, and besides swapping out the fork for a new one that can take discs, the only other option is a fork-mounted cable hanger. Cantilevers eh? This T-shirt is entirely accurate.

Yoga & Shibari October, Berlin


Just a short announcement for all those who have been starving the last months without their unshibari, Dasniya will be teaching twice in October:

Der Yoga & Shibari Kurs findet wegen weiteren Vorstellungen im Oktober nur zweimal statt.
Wann: jeweils Dienstags den 9. & 30. Oktober von 19-23 Uhr
Ort: Teatris Alte Kantine, Uferhallen Kulturwerkstatt, Uferstr. 8-11, 13357 Berlin

Yoga & Shibari workshops continue twice in October.
When: Tuesdays, 9th and 30th October. 7-9 pm
Location: Teatris Alte Kantine, Uferhallen Kulturwerkstatt, Uferstr. 8-11, 13357 Berlin

And Dasniya will also continue performing in the season of Die Geschichte vom Soldaten throughout October and November, and again in May next year in Vorarlberger Landestheater, Bregenz.

Berlin Bregenz Zürich


12 hours Thursday Berlin to Bregenz by train, one night at Landestheater Vorarlberger, seeing Dasniya and Jo perform in the Stravinski work they spend two months creating, much yellowness and shibari, after-show party of Viennese sausage and some delectable pancake-y stewed plum lusciousness, 2am dinner in the Austrian pig-hunting lodge they were staying in, falling asleep, getting up and all stumbling off at 11am, departures at the train station, then off to Zürich for me, reading by the river in the café I visit once every four years, then with Anna for our first proper, more than an hour seeing each other since the last time I lived in this city. Yes, that long ago.

Die Geschichte vom Soldaten

Tomorrow a very hideously early rising, to be at the Hauptbahnhof by 4:30am catching a train to Lindau, and from there across the Bodensee to Bregenz. One night there, and westwards to Zürich for a couple of days to see properly darling Anna Tenta, and then back here by plane. A sort of holiday made possible by what’s happening in Bregenz.

The past months since Vienna, Dasniya has been rehearsing with Jo Siska for a performance that premieres tomorrow at Landestheater Vorarlberg, a staging of Die Geschichte vom Soldaten, with music by Stravinski. She dyed her hair especially yellow for this, kind of a mustard gas theme, matching the costumes. Much shibari also, and pointe shoes, and army boots.

Die Geschichte vom Soldaten

Musik von Igor Strawinsky
Text von Charles Ferdinand Ramuz
Dirigent: Benjamin Lack
Regie und Choreografie: Dasniya Sommer & Jo Siska
PREMIERE: Donnerstag 4. Oktober 2012,
19.30 Uhr, Grosses Haus
Spieldauer. 75 Minuten, keine Pause
Weitere Vorstellungen: 18/10, 25/10, 13/11, 24/11, 12/05, 22/05

Im Tausch gegen seine Geige erhält ein Soldat während seines Urlaubes ein Buch, in dem die Zukunft schon geschrieben steht und mit dessen Hilfe er ein reicher Kaufmann wird. Er wird jedoch den Klang seines Instrumentes vermissen und feststellen müssen, dass ihn der Reichtum allein nicht glücklich macht. Als er seine Geige aber später mit List bei einem Kartenspiel zurückgewinnt, wird ihm der Klang des Instrumentes helfen, eine erkrankte Prinzessin zu heilen. Der Preis dafür ist, dass er seine Heimat und seine Familie nicht mehr sehen darf. „Man kann zugleich nicht der sein, der man ist und der man war“, so lautet das bittere Resümee eines verführten Menschen.

Die Geschichte vom Soldaten ist eine der ersten Arbeiten von Igor Strawinsky im Schweizer Exil. Strawinsky, der auch als Pianist und Dirigent erfolgreich war, schuf mit diesem Stück ein ganz eigenes, neues Musik-Theater, in dem er virtuos verschiedene musikalische Genres und Zeiten zitiert.

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Landeskonservatorium Feldkirch.


Some Vienna / ImPulsTanz / Yoga & Shibari Photos

Photos! Unlike every workshop for the past two years, I barely took any photos in Vienna, and the last day, when I planned to, instead I got distracted making a self-suspension and by the time that was over was slightly too disorganised to pick up my camera. Dasniya took a couple though, and yes, we went to Café Prückel for breakfast on Saturday, so here are some not especially sublime photos that at least remind me I was there. I’d also planned to write a more on Vienna and ImPulsTanz, but things have gotten a little out of hand here, so possibly all the bizarreness, lack of sleep, hot summer days, excitement, Vienna on bikes, all of this, won’t pass out of my memory into something more permanent.