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Culture

Germany's Top Five

The month of May offers everything from outdoor theater to indoor rock concerts, artistic vegetables to intergalactic warfare and belly dancing. It's an eclectic month in Germany -- wherever you may be.

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These children have something of the surreal about them

Is it a childhood dream or childhood nightmare? The exhibition "Over the Rainbow" enters its last month at the K21 exhibition center in Düsseldorf in May. This unusual and thought-provoking selection of artworks is well worth a visit as it draws to a close on May 29. A collaboration between Japanese artists Yoshitomo Naras and Hiroshi Sugito, the exhibition draws on the talents of both artists to create unsettling images of seemingly lost children in fantastic worlds. The children of Naras are composed in the tradition of the popular Manga comics while the settings, created by Sugito, provide surreal environments full of color and abstract images that both insinuate dream and nightmare. Based on the film "The Wizard of Oz," "Over the Rainbow" is an experience, to be sure.

Der Großmeister aller Schurken

See what's new and hot in theater from May 6 at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin, just one of the venues hosting events at this year's Theatertreffen.

Everything goes at the Theatertreffen in Berlin this May. This festival, which runs from May 6 to May 22, is a chance to see what's new in theater is a palatable form, as well as an invitation to debate, both public and private. Every year, the jury of experts selects the 10 best new productions from theaters in Austria, Switzerland and Germany for a spring festival of high-density stage thrills. As well as the productions which will titilate and entertain throughout the month, including Christoph Schlingensief's ``Kunst und Gemuse'' ("Art and Vegetables''), there is a playwrights' salon, featuring well-known authors in conversation, a play market at which previously unperformed works are read, and an international forum for young theater makers and concerts.

Joe Cocker

Rock vocalist and legend Joe Cocker brings his gravelly tones to the Color Line Arena in Hamburg in May

How often do you get to see a living musical legend in action? Rock idols from the 1960's are becoming increasingly thin on the ground. If they didn't die from drink and drugs at the time, many survivors fell by the wayside as younger usurpers knocked them from their perches. Therefore, it is even more important to appreciate people like Joe Cocker while they are still with us. The gravel-voiced singer is now in his sixties but is still rocking out just like he did at the height of the Summer of Love despite numerous lost weekends and inner demons. Cocker takes to the stage at Hamburg's Color Line Arena on May 11 as part of his latest tour in support of a new album.

Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken

Revenge of the Sith, the sixth and final Star Wars movie, is released in Germany on May 19.

May the Force be with you. For a generation brought up on wookies, jawas, Jedis and evil tyrants with respiratory problems, this month heralds the end of a saga that has spanned not only galaxies and strange worlds but a fair portion of the lives of those who have grown up with it. German fans of the Star Wars movies are probably camping out in front of cinemas as this guide is published for the final installment, Revenge of the Sith, which opens across the country from the 19th. If you want to know how former Jedi munchkin Anakin Skywalker eventually becomes Darth Vader, the asthmatic enforcer of the Dark Side, then mark this date in red. If you have no desire to see the film, still mark the date in red only to remind you that the streets could well be full of people wielding plastic light sabers.

East meets west in an entertaining mixture of music and movement. The Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses bring their extravagant costumes and choreography to Cologne's E-Werk venue on May 7. The 12 dancers from the Oriental Dance Ensemble follow up their first European tour last year to bring their exotic dance routines from the coffee houses of Cairo, Beirut and Istanbul to German venues once more. The show has enjoyed major success wherever it has been performed and adds a mysterious flair to a circuit that includes shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.

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