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Culture

Germany's Top Five

National art nuggets in Bonn, a very private Picasso in Berlin, film glamour in Frankfurt, rocking in Koblenz and oodles of onions in Weimar --from the high-brow to whacky, there's plenty to do in Germany this week.

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Crowning the onion queen is a highlight of Weimar's onion festival

As a reunited Germany turns 15 on Oct. 3, the Federal Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn is celebrating the occasion by presenting some of Germany's greatest art treasures. Called "National Treasures from Germany -- From Luther to Bauhaus," the exhibition showcases 600 objects -- ranging from paintings, sculptures, graphics, literary and musical works -- provided by 25 prime institutions in the former communist East Germany and Berlin. The ambitious show aims to highlight the creation and historical transformation of different museum collections in a European context over five centuries and at the same time shines a spotlight on the special importance and contribution of East German museums in the field. Significant sites and events in the overall German cultural field took place in the east of the country. The Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century marks the beginning of the show. The exhibition, which opened on Sept. 30 runs through Jan. 8, 2006.

Liegender Akt

Pablo Picasso: Nu couché

If the thought of viewing some rare Picassos tickles your artistic fancy, drop in at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie for a unique retrospective of the Spanish master's most important creations. Called "Pablo. The Private Picasso - Le Musee Picasso à Berlin," the show -- which opened on Sept 30 and runs through Jan. 22 -- includes around 90 paintings and sculptures and 80 graphics that Pablo Picasso stored in his studio until his death and which his heirs then handed over to the French state as compensation for tax debts. The collection on display in Berlin doesn't include key works such as "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" from 1907, but it does offer a glimpse of Picasso's transformation from his earlier phase of still-lifes to the starker paintings of his later years dominated by sexual fantasies and female silhouettes.

The banking metropolis of Frankfurt will shed its stuffy corporate image and don some glamour instead starting Oct. 9, when it hosts the 8th eDIT Filmmaker's Festival, which is expected to draw stars and talent from Hollywood, Europe and Asia. For three days, the city on the Main River will revolve around filmmaking in the digital age as international filmmakers dispense tips and share some tricks of the trade related to techniques and creative trends for films, TV, advertising and animation in a series of presentations, workshops and panel discussions. The highlight of the yearly festival includes prizes for personalities who make an outstanding contribution to the art of filmmaking. This year's recipients include the actor Armin Mueller-Stahl and the Oscar-winner for animation, Phil Tippett (Return of the Jedi, Jurassic Park).

Put on your dancing shoes on Oct. 7 as the city of Koblenz in the Mosel Valley in southern Germany hosts the yearly "Zapfkultur" evening in its old quarter. To ensure a rocking party until the wee hours of morning, 40 bands will give their best in some 18 bars and clubs this time. The musical repertoire will range from rock, pop, oldies, jazz, blues, soul and funk to techno, hip-hop and funk. This year will also see the addition of reggae, Latin, ska and world music. For a one-time entrance ticket of seven euros ($8.35), you can visit all the 18 participating bars and pubs as often as you want during the evening. This year there are three other venues situated outside the Altstadt which are hosting bands, too. A bus shuttle takes visitors there and back.

Zwiebeln in Weimar

If you don't mind reeking of onion for some time, then head to Goethe's Weimar for the annual Zwiebelmarkt, or onion market. First established in 1653, the onion market survived wars and decades of Communist rule to continue until the present day and draws between 100,000 and 300,000 visitors a year. Much like other established markets in Germany, the onion market has also evolved into a fair-like festival. So in addition to rows of stands offering onions in all colors, shapes and sizes, there's also a mini marathon, food stalls, blaring music, bockbier -- dark German beer -- and the crowning of the onion queen. The festival runs through Oct. 9.

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