From exotic spa treatments, intellectual achievement, thundering Gods and scandal-inspired Viennese nudes, Germany this week offers plenty to titillate the senses.
Gape at scenes of licentiousness in a new exhibit in Frankfurt that explores the tension in fin de siècle Vienna between conservative forces and artists pushing the boundaries. "The Naked Truth - Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka and other Scandals" at the Schirn gallery features works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, who, inspired by their contemporary, Sigmund Freud, visually explored a range of taboos of the time: sexuality and power, homoeroticism and pregnancy. For example, in one work, Egon Schiele paints Eros with a "radical directness" and as a result, was thrown into prison on suspicion of child molestation. Klimt, involved in a dispute with a client, painted provocative nudes in sexual poses and dedicated them to his critics. While tame by today's decency standards, the erotic power that so scandalized Viennese society can still be seen. The exhibit runs through April 24.
Lose yourself in the new treatments offered at the renovated and updated Kur Royal in Bad Homburg near Frankfurt. Since government health system reforms led to a reluctance by health insurers to pay for weeks of relaxation and mineral waters in a Kur, spa towns have stepped up to try and attract younger, healthier and most importantly, paying customers with exotic wellness treatments. Bad Homburg spent millions renovating its main Kurhaus and these days, offers rasul, a mud treatment in an Arabic-inspired tile chamber complete with soft music, changing lights and steam. In another room, one can lie back on sand as the warm sun rises over the "ocean" in a treatment known as "a day at the beach." Or relax tired back muscles in a hay steam bath or a variety of massages ranging from Hawaiian to Thai.
Riding through history
Ride along on a tour through history with a bicycle in "East/West: Of Bikes and Men - Berlin 1964 - 2004" at the Friends of the Italian Opera in Berlin. The play explores the stories of the men and women of East and West Berlin during the cold war, through reunification to the present day. The tales are told through the tumultuous adventures of a brand new bike that wanders between East and West, becoming increasingly rusty as it gets lost and found, repaired, stolen, sold and, finally, put aside. The play was written by Jesta Phoenix specifically for a project that focuses on Berlin landmarks - this time the Berlin TV Tower. It runs through March 22.
Celebrate the genius of the world's most famous thinker through a tour of landmarks associated with his life or visit an exhibit opening next week in Potsdam called, "A Tower for Albert Einstein. Potsdam, Light, and Exploring the Heavens." This year marks the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Theory of Relativity and the 50th anniversary of the death of the celebrated scientist. And since Einstein lived and taught in Berlin and Potsdam from 1914 until his emigration to the United States in 1933, these two cities are central to events planned during the year. The exhibit, which opens March 19, explores the Einstein tower, a collaboration finished in 1923 between the world-famous physicist, astronomer Erwin Finlay Freundlich and the architect Erich Mendelsohn. The show presents the Einstein Tower as a monument to modern architecture and science and explores its planning and building, its importance to architectural history, its function as a scientific instrument and the research performed there.
Revel in the power of Nordic myths told through thunderous music in Richard Wagner's epic four operas, "The Ring of the Nibelung." Presented over one week beginning March 19, the Chemnitz Opera will perform "Das Rheingold," "Die Walküre," "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung," presenting the heroes and fair maidens in their quest for love and honor and their battles against evil. The operas, many say Wagner's best, are not often presented in their entirety. It is a great opportunity to spend a week, walking among the gods.