Non-fiction book: “Dr. med. Karl May” by Johannes Zeilinger
It went without saying that Karl May held his doctorate, which turned out to be a wish-fulfillment of his own grace. He wanted to be taken for a doctor: When Dr. medical Heilig, ophthalmologist, he pretended to be in his “vagrant days” (Zeilinger), as “hekim” (doctor) Kara Ben Nemsi, May’s first-person narrator in the Orient, stands out, although he points out that he is not a doctor. Whoever reads May’s “travel stories” is amazed at what Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi were able to improve and heal. Or the great Karl Sternau from the novel giant snake “Waldröschen”: Not only can he magically shoot, ride and knock down, but he is also an ophthalmologist of the highest order, i.e. May’s grace.
In his autobiography “My Life and Striving” there are medical and psychological problems in abundance, from which the Saxon fantasist explains his crooked career: The (alleged) early childhood blindness for years, the split personality, the babble of voices in the head and other things May as a self-confessor in order to defend himself against public manhunts on him, the successful writer. Accordingly, he also talks about recovery and its positive consequences.
All of this prompted Johannes Zeilinger, himself a renowned doctor and former chairman of the Karl May Society, to look at the always strange existence of Karl May from a medical perspective. The result is a highly amusing and enlightening book that not only examines the diverse medical and healing stories in the novel or examines and comments on the dubiousness of May’s self-analyses for their truthfulness, but also records a history of diseases and healing methods at the time .
The fact that Zeilinger happily picks apart many May legends that have become dear to him increases the reading pleasure enormously. In the end, it becomes a successful portrait of this narrative genius of total adventure, who creates himself in the frenzy of fantasy and gets drunk on himself. Harold Eggebrecht
Classic: “Eonta” by Iannis Xenakis
If the composer Iannis Xenakis did go on holiday, he was happiest when he could run up a mountain during a thunderstorm to get as close as possible to the lightning. This music also consists of lightning bolts, organized according to probability calculations, scientific models and the idea of hopeful beauty. The piano (Lorenzo Soulès) works like in a quarry, the wind instruments (ensemble focus) bang with energy, unimpressed by the crazy demands. And sing, whisper, chatter with each other, ask riddles. As always with the Bastille Musique label, “Eonta” is flawlessly and lovingly produced, the compilation of the six pieces conducted by Peter Rundel resembles a sound exhibition, curated with superior wit and merciless esprit. Egbert Tholl
Exhibition: Monument designs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe also once designed a Bismarck monument. It had more pillars than an antique palace, and it was supposed to be near Bingen am Rhein. At least the fact that it was never built spares it from demands for removal. His design for a memorial in Schinkel’s Neuer Wache was just as little used, which in turn saved it from being redesigned in the Nazi and GDR eras and after 1990. Only Mies’ monument to Luxemburg and other revolutionaries in Friedrichsfelde was realized in 1924. That was then razed by the Nazis. However, discussions about a reconstruction are ongoing; and until the end of March you can see the three very different memorial designs by the politically quite broad-minded man in the Mies van der Rohe house on the Obersee in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, this memorial to Mies as a residential building architect. Peter Richter
Pop: “Cracker Island” by the Gorillaz
Perhaps the trick of the album “Cracker Island” lies in the fact that Damon Albarn reduced the guests this time – quantitatively. Is indeed a phenomenon that the former blur-Frontman and co-founder of Gorillaz she really gets all. If he wants to. Even Noel Gallagher, who once wished him to die of AIDS, has already cooperated with the cartoon formation. This time it’s Stevie Nicks, whose bone-dry vocals always ground Albarn’s somewhat floating nasal passages. In addition, the singers Beck and Adeleye Omotayo, the grandiose bassist Thundercat, Bootie Brown, Tame Impala and the reggaeton megastar Bad Bunny. This still results in a largely overambitious mix of styles, but is held together so fundamentally grandiosely by the sacred melancholy of Albarn’s melodies that it is even less noticeable than usual. The best thing this band has done in many years. Jacob Biazza
Literature: Wolfgang Kohlhaase in “Sense and Form”
Storytelling must not be attempted, that is the whole art of Wolfgang Kohlhaase, who wrote subtle literary stories and fantastic screenplays. Working for directors such as Konrad Wolf and Frank Beyer, he has shaped East German cinema since the 1950s, and then in the West after the reunification, with Volker Schlöndorff and Andreas Dresen. He died on October 5, 2022. In the new issue of the literary magazine sense and form among other things (Gombrowicz, Gissing, Ernaux) an exposé of him is printed, “Uncle, do you have a light?”, and a conversation with him, from April 2022. Also a funeral speech by Andreas Dresen, in which he also talks about Kohlhaase’s eulogy , when Dresen received the Wicki Prize at the Munich Film Festival.
It is the first issue in the 75th year of publication and will be the last of the magazine published by the Academy of Arts in Berlin. The district court of Berlin has now forbidden this – the culture magazine Letter International complained that the academy was state-funded, sense and form i.e. an “unofficial state culture magazine” is on the free market (SZ of March 1, 2023).
“Uncle, do you have a light?” is an exciting little text in which not a word or a pause is too much, it is absolutely literary, and yet it contains a real film – the story of a TV director in the GDR who worked for the news show ” Camera concrete” and suffers from the tactical superiors, who carefully compress his (timidly) recalcitrant contributions. And then the hassles with women, and of course with the male problem of potency: “Tell me, do you know that, as a child I heard it often, I mean when we came to the topic that you can only do it three thousand times. As a man , I mean. In life.”
A stuttering that immediately makes the poor man appear before his eyes, through all that must remain unsaid. “I think,” explains Kohlhaase, “you have to tell the story as openly and as unconditionally as possible. It mustn’t take a tumble, it has to tell itself. Unconditional narratives have a great beauty. Because it makes you want to think about it… . What is unconditional, breathless touches me.” Fritz Goettler