1. FC Kaiserslautern
Die Roten Teufel or Red Devils play their home matches at Germany’s highest soccer venue. Fritz Walter Stadion or the Betzenberg, is one of the most atmospheric and impressive settings in Germany. There is no other stadium where you feel the crowd as intensely as in Kaiserslautern. Visiting teams have long feared the venue given the ferocity of Kaiserslautern fans: the most faithful of these supporters are located in the stadium's "Westkurve."
Tickets can be purchased at the Service Center in the South Stand of the Fritz Walter Stadium or at the fan shop café “Westkurve” located on the Stiftsplatz in the city center. Payments can be made by debit card, credit card or cash.
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Typical 20th century
That nauseous-looking reddish area in front of the theater is the roof of the parking garage.
You'd think they would at least landscape it or something, but no.
Since this theater was built in the 20th century, the planners' main concern was to provide enough parking spaces for those who insist on driving to the theater in their heart-attack machines.
As an afterthought they also built a rather nice theater, but because of the parking garage you can't approach the front of the theater on foot, you have to sneak up on it from one of the sides.
This sort of thing always reminds me of a snippet of dialogue from an old Billy Wilder film called Sabrina, from the year 1958:
"After all, this is the 20th century, Father."
"Twentieth century? Why, I could pick a century out of a hat, blindfolded, and come up with a better one."
Theoretically no one is allowed to tread on the sacred roof of the sacred parking garage, but I wasn't arrested or even reprimanded for doing so, so I guess in our century they aren't too serious about that any more.
Second photo: The theater and parking garage as seen from across the street. As you can see, the parking garage is directly in front of the main entrance to the theater.
- Theater Travel
Jonny spielt auf, by Ernst Krenek
The name of this comic opera is usually translated as "Jonny strikes up", meaning he starts to play music, as in the phrases strike up a tune or strike up the band (also used in the phrase strike up a conversation).
Which is fine, but the title also can have a second meaning in German, namely "Jonny shows off". I expect the composer had both meanings in mind when he wrote the opera in the 1920s.
As I mentioned on my Kaiserslautern intro page, this opera was hugely popular in the late 1920s and early 1930s, until it was banned by the Nazis as soon as they came to power in 1933.
After the war and the end of the Nazi regime, it took many years before the Krenek's music started making its way back into the repertoire. (This is also true of other composers of his generation, such as Zemlinsky, Korngold, Schreker and Oskar Straus, as I have described in my tip/review called The lost generation of opera composers on my Zürich page.)
The staging of Jonny spielt auf in Kaiserslautern was very funny and up-to-date. They staged it as a computer game. Jonny came in at the beginning, sat down at a computer at one side of the stage, and started playing. The game appeared on a huge screen that covered the rest of the stage. After a few minutes the screen was lifted to reveal singers in shiny vinyl costumes just like the game characters, and they went on with the story.
Despite the computer-game staging, Jonny spielt auf still has a 1920s flapster feeling about it, which is fun though it also makes the opera seem a bit dated, eight decades after its big success.
Second photo: Seating in the theater.
- Theater Travel
Pfalztheater (Palatinate Theatre)
Since 1995 this new theater building has been the venue for up to four hundred performances a year in the three columns of musical theater (operas, operettas and musicals), spoken theater and ballet. The main auditorium has 730 seats, and there is also a smaller "workshop stage" with flexible seating for up to 200 people.
The Pfalztheater has its own orchestra and chorus, as well as opera, drama and ballet ensembles. They say there are currently about three hundred people working in the theater, not counting guest artists.
The old theater building was destroyed in a bombing raid on August 14, 1944. After the war they quickly resumed performing in what was intended as a temporary venue in an old movie theater. But this provisional venue remained in use for half a century until the new theater was finally inaugurated in 1995.
Second photo: The Pfalztheater with its entrance rotunda.
Third photo: Entrance to the Pfalztheater.
Fourth photo: The stage entrance.
- Theater Travel
K-Town Skyline Countdown # 1
Don't spend a lot of time searching for # 2 in this countdown, because there isn't any.
This building, the City Hall, is the first and only high-rise building in Kaiserslautern. It is 84 meters high (= 276 feet) and has 25 floors.
The notable thing about this building is that when it was built, in 1968, it was the tallest building in Germany. (Not counting other types of structures such as church steeples and television towers.)
But not for long, because a few years later other German cities, Frankfurt in particular, starting building taller ones.
If this building were in Frankfurt am Main it would currently be number 39 in the Frankfurt Skyline Countdown.
Statues at the theater
When you walk up to the theater from the west side you are greeted by this statue of an "African King".
The statue, by the sculptor Gunter Stilling, is made of Carrara marble and is intended to symbolize a traditional theater topic.
Second photo: On the east side of the theater there is another statue by the same sculptor. This one is called "Fallen Angel".
Third photo: This old villa on the west side of the theater, near the stage entrance, is where the offices of the theater administration are now located.
- Theater Travel
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Rooting for an extra ordinary USA soccer team
Quoting from http://www.cnn.com/worldcup
Saturday, June 17, 2006
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Three men were sent off on a dramatic night in Kaiserslautern as the nine of the USA held the ten of Italy to a 1-1 draw that keeps their World Cup qualification hopes alive in Group E.
Alberto Gilardino's goal for Italy was canceled out by an own goal by Cristiano Zaccardo five minutes later..
The Uruguayan sent off Daniele De Rossi for elbowing, with Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope of the USA joining him either side of halftime.
The three red cards equaled a World Cup finals record.
There have been three dismissals on three other occasions --. in 1938 Brazil v Czechoslovakia, 1954 Brazil v Hungary and 1998 Denmark v South Africa.
Italy top the group with four points from two games with Ghana and the Czech Republic on three points. The USA, who play Ghana in their final match can still qualify..
Bobby Convey and Clint Dempsey had gone close before Italy took the lead..
But the advantage did not last long as Zaccardo hacked an inswinging corner into his own net under no particular pressure..
De Rossi departed for a blatant elbow on Brian McBride which left the Fulham striker with blood dreaming from a cut near his nose..
The second half had barely started when United States central defender Pope was shown a second yellow card for a tackle from behind on Gilardino, suddenly leaving Italy with a man advantage.
Surprisingly it was the USA who pushed hardest for a winner with McBride shooting wide from a good position after fine work by the ever-lively Landon Donovan.
Substitute DaMarcus Beasley even had the ball in the net but it was ruled out with McBride in an offside position.
Carlos Bocanegra gave Bruce Arena's men a scare when he headed against his own crossbar and Kasey Keller palmed away Alessandro del Piero's volley..
My two cents worth: Great to follow a brave playing Mc Bride/forward who's plus good looking like Italy's Cannavaro is as well.
- Adventure Travel
Soccer at Fritz Walter Stadion
Quoting from http://www.cnn.com/worldcup
Monday, June 12, 2006
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Tim Cahill scored twice in six minutes to lead Australia to a stunning 3-1 comeback win over Japan in Monday's opening Group F clash on Monday.
Second half substitute Cahill equalised after 84 minutes -- it was his nation's first World Cup finals goal -- following mayhem in the Japanese defense and thundered in the second in the 89th minute.
Fellow substitute John Aloisi completed a remarkable comeback with the third goal deep into stoppage time in Kaiserslautern.
Australia, making their first appearance in the finals for 32 years, made the early running.
But they fell behind after 26 minutes when Shunsuke Nakamura's cross floated over Mark Schwarzer into the empty net, although the keeper claimed he was impeded by Atsushi Yanagisawa..
The Socceroos, playing in the finals for the first time since 1974, had hustled and bustled against a side content to pack the midfield.
Kawaguchi made fine saves from Mark Viduka and Marco Bresciano but with Harry Kewell clearly not fully recovered from a groin injury they lacked a killer instinct until Cahill's equaliser.
Japan, who reached the last 16 as co-hosts in 2002, were forced to rely on the counter-attack. From one such break Takashi Fukunishi fired over, then a smart turn from Naohiro Takahara was let down with an inaccurate finish..
Hiddink threw on attacking midfielder Cahill and strikers Aloisi and Joshua Kennedy in a bold move after the break and it reaped a stunning dividend.
Kewell said the team's determined approach earned them their first win at a World Cup finals..
"We've got a never-say-die attitude and we've got a strong squad," said forward Kewell. "We gave away a goal that was maybe dubious but Tim (Cahill) got two great goals and John (Aloisi) capped off a wonderful performance by us."
"It was a bit of brilliance from Tim that got us in front.."
- Adventure Travel
Ancient history of Kaiserslautern
In the center of the city, near the city hall (tall white building) and the main bus stop, you can find parts of the former Imperial Palace (Kaiserplatz) -- built in the 12th Century for Frederick I, known as Barbarossa. On Saturdays (and other times through special arrangements), you can take a tour of the subterranean escape passages and get a nice history of the area.
It's a library with a main focus on palatinate (regional) issues. There's also a free wireless internet connection. It's one of four libraries in Kaiserslautern: Stadtbibliothek (Municipal Library), Universitätsbibliothek (university library of Kaiserslautern), and Hochschulbibliothek (Bibliothek of Fachhochschule - University of Applied Science).
Dinosaurs in Kaiserslautern???
The Gartenschau (Garden exhibition), better known as the 'Dino Park' because of its lifesize dinosaur models, is open from April through October and is popular with families. Having begun as a series of botanical displays and enjoying success at the first State Garden Exhibition of Rhineland-Palatinate in Kaiserlautern in 2000, this 54-acre park has been transformed into one of the most multi-dimensional cultural centers in Germany.
KL's center of culture (other half)
According to their website, www.kammgarn.de:
KAMMGARN IS A CLASSIFIED HISTORICAL MONUMENT. THE KAMMGARN BUILDINGS AND COURTS HOSTED A SPINNING FACTORY IN FORMER TIMES, WHICH HAS LEFT A NICE VINTAGE FLAVOR TO THE WHOLE AREA.
KAMMGARN RANGES AMONG THE TOP-VENUES IN GERMANY, AND HAS BEEN PRAISED AS AN INTERNATIONALLY HIGHLY-APPRECIATED, FIRST-CALL, CONCERT-LOCATION (JAZZ, ROCK, BLUES, POP, INDIE) FOR YEARS.
KAMMGARN HAS HOSTED INTERNATIONAL STARS LIKE B.B. KING, MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND, PAT METHENY, JAN GARBAREK, MAXIMO PARK, TOCOTRONIC, MADSEN, OR REVOLVERHELD.
KAMMGARN PROMOTED MORE THAN 4,300 EVENTS IN 19 YEARS FOR 2 MILLION GUESTS.
KAMMGARN OFFERS THE LATEST STANDARD IN SOUND- AND LIGHT TECHNIQUE.
KAMMGARN MEANS: THE MOST COMPETENT SOUND- AND LIGHT-TECHNICIANS
KAMMGARN COMPRISES: 2 HALLS FOR ALL KINDS OF EVENTS ('KASINO'; 'MUSEUM2'); A CLUB ('COTTON CLUB'); 2 BARS; A RESTAURANT ('TURBINE'); PARKING AREA AT VENUE
This is Kaiserslautern's art gallery. It was founded in 1874 as a museum of trades and crafts. The museum building was constructed from 1875 to 1880. Today, its main focus is on painting and sculpture from the 19th to 21st century.
Their website is very helpful, with lots of info on the collection you will find there.
- Arts and Culture
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KL's center of culture (one half)
The Fruchthalle (fruit hall) is situated in the center of the city. It hosts many events throughout the year, but is primarily used for chamber orchestra-type concerts. The cultural department of the city can be found on the first floor. Contemporary art exhibitions are held there regularly as well. Rooms there can be rented out for banquets and private parties. I say the Fruchthalle is one-half the center of culture, because the Kammgarn is probably the other half. Where the Fruchthalle hosts art and classical music events, Kammgarn hosts rock, jazz and electronic music events.
The history of the Fruchthalle is interesting. According to Kaiserslautern's city website, the Fruchthalle is the most important secular building of the Palatinate (area). From 1843-1846, it was built by order of the city of Kaiserslautern according to the plans of the architect August von Voit, and its style reminds of the Florentine patrician palaces of Early Renaissance.
In May and June 1849, history was made in the Fruchthalle, because it was the strategic center of the Palatine Revolution of 1848/49. On 17 May 1849, people's representatives elected the Provisional Government of Palatinate, which was in session in the hall of the Fruchthalle until 13 June 1849. Until 1901, the fruit and grain market of the city of Kaiserslautern was held in first floor of the Fruchthalle. The above two-story banqueting hall is used for festivities, concerts, meetings and exhibitions since then.
The strangest fountain!
It's called the Kaiserbrunnen, or Emperor Fountain, and is supposed to be a three-dimensional history of Kaiserslautern. Both Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and King Rudolf von Habsburg are featured. I don't know why some of the other stuff is on there. The engine probably has something to do with the Opel factory located in town. The elephants? I have no idea! But it's an interesting thing to see.
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