They're crazy, the drawers

Crazy: Herr Hase with the Gauls

And suddenly Mr. Rabbit finds himself in the year 50 BC. Christ at Obelix’s side again. In his new album “Beim Teutates!” ( Reprodukt Verlag ) , the French comic book artist Lewis Trondheim brings his best-known character together with the Gauls, Romans and pirates from the “Asterix” universe. Everyone seems to mistake Mr. Rabbit, who doesn’t know what happened to him, for Asterix himself. With the difficulty of placing his winged helmet on (or better next to?) the long rabbit ears, the problems only begin. Mr. Hase’s modern attitude (he doesn’t eat meat, “factory farming, the hole in the ozone layer, water consumption”) just doesn’t fit in at all with the wild boar-eating, fighting, god-believing Gauls. The clash between the levels of time and reality becomes particularly painful when Herr Hase and Obelix beat up a troop of Romans, who don’t happily fly out of their sandals into the trees, but are covered in blood – and dead! – lying in front of them. Obelix, a murderer? Who kills because he can and because beating is so fun? That’s where the fun actually ends, but “Asterix” fans from Trondheim don’t really want to decide between deconstruction and homage.

By the way, the figures don’t look at all like the Gauls designed by Albert Uderzo and now drawn by Didier Conrad. Herr Hase has his usual long rabbit ears, the Gauls have brownish-grey potato noses on their faces. Remarkable that the “Asterix” rights holders have even approved Trondheim’s variation, never before has the series been parodied with official permission or quoted so extensively. Trondheim, on the other hand, has plunged its long-eared hero into various surreal adventures before. Even the craziest “adventures of Mr. Rabbit” don’t seem as strange as this body swapping time travel story. Trondheim himself comments very appropriately: “They’re crazy, the comic artists.” Martina Knoben

Incredibly rustic: the natural ice rink in Friedrichroda

Favorites of the week: Enchanted and overgrown with moss: the Spießbergbahn in the Thuringian Forest near Friedrichroda. In 1966, the 10th World Championship in luge racing was to take place here.

Enchanted and overgrown with moss: the Spießbergbahn in the Thuringian Forest near Friedrichroda. In 1966, the 10th World Championship in luge racing was to take place here.

(Photo: Christine Dössel)

Whoever enters the forest on the Spießberg in Friedrichroda, in the Thuringian district of Gotha, thinks they are in an enchanted fairytale world. It is fabulously rustic here. Spruce forests, blackberry bushes, thickets of leaves. Right in the middle, moss-covered and half-weathered, is masonry that winds its way downhill in a 1,266 meter long curve: a concrete channel, once used as a bobsleigh and racing sled track, the so-called Spießbergbahn , was created as one of the few natural ice rinks in Europe. Inaugurated in 1910, it should have had its heyday in February 1966, in GDR times: the slope was extensively renovated for the 10th Luge World Championship and everything was done to make Friedrichroda suitable for the World Championship. 100,000 Thuringian sausages were prepared, three commemorative stamps were printed, and when the temperature rose, crowds of helpers brought snow from the valley to the mountain with their own hands, “with unspeakable effort,” according to press reports.

And then? Then the thaw set in again and the Luge World Championships were called off. Out the mouse. Tragic for Friedrichroda – also because after that, Thuringia’s Oberhof became a winter sports hotspot. Championships were still held on the Spießbergbahn, but only in the GDR, and the upper 1000 meters have not been used at all since the 1980s. Young tobogganists still train on the modernized lower section – in summer.

Favorites of the week: Art at the edge of the bobsleigh run: In this hut, Kristin Wenzel's sound work

Art at the edge of the bobsleigh run: In this hut, Kristin Wenzel’s sound work “A Thousand Melodies” is reminiscent of the former World Cup euphoria.

(Photo: Kristin Wenzel)

The artist Kristin Wenzel , born in Gotha in 1983, took the toboggan run and its history as an occasion for a memorial work in the middle of the forest as part of the “Thuringian Seductions” of the Weimar Art Festival. At one of the old announcer huts on the edge of the track, headlines from the time when Friedrichroda was in the World Cup euphoria can be heard from a loudspeaker. There is also an alienating sound carpet (Benjamin Waschto), which fades away with dripping noises that sound like the melting ice as well as the tears of disappointment. “A thousand melodies” is what Wenzel calls her sound installation, which runs daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in a loop (until November 20), based on a former GDR radio show. Accompanying this, the clever Weimar ACC gallery will show the research work of the artist with the help of articles, documents and objects. Only one thing remains open: what happened to the 100,000 sausages? Christine Dossel

Controversial but fair: “Fight for the A 49”

Favorites of the week: The ninety-minute "Autobahn: Kampf um die A 49" by Klaus Stern and Frank Marten Pfeiffer is at least a very successful documentary.

The ninety-minute “Autobahn: Kampf um die A 49” by Klaus Stern and Frank Marten Pfeiffer is at least a very successful documentary.

(Photo: WDR/stern film/WDR/stern film)

A documentary succeeds when controversial positions are presented fairly and the viewer learns something that goes beyond the concrete facts, like in a fable. In this sense, the ninety-minute film “The Autobahn: Battle for the A 49” by Klaus Stern and Frank Marten Pfeiffer is at least very successful. The film, which can be seen in the ARD media library, shows the many conflicts of what one could easily underestimate as yet another infrastructure project from a distance within Germany. It’s not “just” about 85 hectares of forest to be cleared, about the home of filmmaker Stern. It’s about the interests of residents, business, politics in the traffic turnaround, about activism and the question of the basis on which this acts. So there is an incredible amount at stake – and this great film never loses the thread. Cornelius Pollmer

Real theater music: Richard Wagner’s “Valkyrie” in Zurich

Favorites of the week: Camilla Nylund as Brünnhilde in Zurich.

Camilla Nylund as Brünnhilde in Zurich.

(Photo: Monika Rittershaus)

In its acoustics, the Zurich Opera House is the complete opposite of the Bayreuth Festival Hall. Anyone looking for an esoteric experience is wrong here. Anyone who wants theater will be happy. Especially now with Richard Wagner’s “Valkyrie”. Gianandrea Noseda sees the music as a sonorous spectacle, conducted with extreme plasticity, unleashing storms of dynamics that challenge the soloists but never overwhelm them. As a picture book of the leitmotifs, the performance is grippingly entertaining, especially when Tomasz Konieczny unpacks all his acting skills as Wotan. You don’t even have to think about the details of Andreas Homoki’s staging, everything is fulfilled in the moment of human and musical truth. Egbert Tholl

“Der Struwwelpeter” with the Ensemble Modern

A masterpiece of black pedagogy – or at least a wonderful grotesque, so greatly exaggerated that the alleged threat to the child’s well-being is not taken at face value anyway: Heinrich Hoffmann’s “Der Struwwelpeter” is debatable. In any case, Michael Quast and Sabine Fischmann clearly enjoy the somewhat incorrect stories of Suppen-Kaspar and Zappel-Philipp and are performing them together with the Ensemble Modern at the Volkstheater in Frankfurt. The radio play director Björn SC Deigner, on the other hand, recorded and mixed the spectacle for the radio, which alternates between musical and rock opera, so that this “Struwwelpeter” does not sound like a stage, but like radio (SWR 2, September 24, 2022, 11:03 p.m. and SWR Audiothek ). An acoustically pleasurable cabinet of horrors. Stephen Fisher

Favorites of the week: Lust for disobedience: "Der Struwwelpeter" at the Volksbühne in Frankfurt with Michael Quast, Sabine Fischmann and the Ensemble Modern.

Lust for disobedience: “Der Struwwelpeter” at the Volksbühne in Frankfurt with Michael Quast, Sabine Fischmann and the Ensemble Modern.

(Photo: Niko Neuwirth)

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