From Aachen to St. Petersburg, Frankfurt to Venice - June's culture calendar takes you just about everywhere in Europe. Come join us... and bring your camera, a set of earplugs, and get ready to stay up all night.
A splash of color for Berlin
Germany's capital will again go party hearty for the 19th annual Carnival of Cultures. Dancing, music, drinks - just about anything goes during the four-day festival from June 6 - 9. Considered one of the world's largest street fairs, 82 groups and around 5,400 participants will celebrate multi-culturalism in fantastic costumes or atop meters-long stilts. Monday the 9th is a public holiday in Germany, so plenty of time for the parades of giants, dwarves and marvelous creatures to overrun the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. Flanking the streets? Parties, stage dramas, acrobatics and kid-centric fun - to a soundtrack of reggae, meditative sitar music and just about anything else.
A Paparazzi phenomenon
Somewhat quieter, but none the less piercing, is the exhibition entitled, "Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists". A red carpet entry takes visitors into Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle. From June 27 to October 12, where they'll be treated to paparazzi everywhere, replete with cameras and microphones - or recorded versions thereof, at least. They'll also get the story behind some of the world's most scandalous photos: Jackie Kennedy-Onassis during an impromptu walk through Manhattan, Mick Jagger flipping the bird right at the camera, Lady Di on the run or - as in the picture above - Marlon Brando with the American Paparazzi star Ron Galella. Is the exhibition pure voyeurism? No, it's about the photographs as works of art. The more than 600 images are dedications of sort to the myth of the hunt for the perfect image - and the stars-as-victims caught in the process. "The Paparazzi aren't just from today. It has a long history and its own aesthetic, which has influenced art," says curator Clement Cheroux. One of the oldest snapshots shown at the exhibit is of Otto von Bismarck on his deathbed in 1898, taken by two Hamburg photographers who illegally slipped into his death chamber, where the German Chancellor lay with a gauze bandage wrapped around his head.
Aachen celebrates Charlemagne
Charlemagne died on January 28, 814, in the western German city of Aachen. Twelve-hundred years after his death, the city is presenting the life and works of the legendary king of the Franks in a special exhibit entitled, "Charlemagne. Power. Art. Treasures." from June 20 - September 21. The court life of the Carolingian period will be on display as well as the cultural and political issues of that time. At the new Centre Charlemagne, which is opening its doors for the first time as part of the exhibition, will be showing off the most important works of art from the court school of Charlemagne. Manuscripts, pieces of ivory, gold and silver that had been scattered throughout Europe over the centuries have been brought back to Aachen from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Vatican Museums. The cathedral's treasure will also showcase once-lost treasures from the time of Charlemagne, standouts of which include the coronation robe of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, who was crowned in Aachen on May 17, 1257.
Crisis be damned: Manifesta in St. Petersburg
As planned, the European biennial for contemporary art, Manifesta, will take place on June 28 in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The biennial stands firmly behind "artistic independence" and doesn't shy away from current conflicts, says the director of the festival, Hedwig Fijen. According this year's chief curator, Kasper König of Germany, the canceling of Manifesta as a result of the Ukraine crisis would have been a "sign of resignation." In keeping with the 20-year history of the roving exhibition, König, the former director of Cologne's Ludwig Museum, will be showcasing the works of Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman in the old and new wings of the Winter Palace. Russian artists such as Elena Kovylina und Pavel Pepperstein (his image above, "The Convict") will also be on display.
Bach festival in Leipzig
Every June, Bach fans the world over make a pilgrimage to Leipzig. This year's concert series, which runs from June13 - 22, has been christened "Father and son," showcasing the works of both Johann Sebastian as well as his second-oldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel. The latter is one of the best-known composers of the 18th century and set the tone for composers such as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and even Ludwig van Beethoven. In 2014, he would have been celebrating his 300th birthday. Happy 300th, Carl Philipp Emanuel!
Architecture's future in Venice
Venice is not just made up of canals, gondolas and a film festival. It's also the site of a biennial forum for architecture. "Fundamentals" is the name of the 14th such occasion, which runs from June 7 to November 23. Modern art as architecture will be presented there by artistic director and renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who claims the exhibition will "sever all connections with contemporary architecture." Of the 65 countries contributing to the pavilions there, 11 are newcomers - among them, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and Kenya.
An extra shift in the Ruhr Pot
The Ruhr region in western Germany is putting in a bit more overtime this year: On June 28, the "Extraschicht" program, or "Night of industrial culture," will co-opt former industrial sites as venues for 2,000 artists. The theme is "At home in Europe," with street theater culture, for example, being celebrated at the at the former Zollverein coal mine complex now under UNESCO World Heritage protection. Music venues will also abound, with classical, hip hop, dance, light shows, readings and tours. The clever German name can be interpreted three ways: as an extra work shift, an extra layer and as an extra social class. It's a vivid and unusual cultural program, with international artists putting in extra shifts long into the night.
And finally: Rock am Ring in the Eifel
Germany's largest festival is always a doozy: This year, from June 5 - 8, a horde of roughly 85,000 will descend on the Nürburgring racetrack in southwest Germany for the notorious summer festival, Rock am Ring. Rockers can get their kicks with Iron Maiden and Metallica; headbangers, with Queens of the Stone Age and Anthrax; shoegazers, it's Kings of Leon. Even German soul-singing and hip-hop chameleon Jan Delay will try to make rock-music headway by presenting his new rock album, "Hammer und Michel." Fans of Nine Inch Nails will get to hear the band once again, with German hip-hop group Die Fantastischen Vier celebrating a quarter century of music. One day later, the same lineup will play at Zeppelinfeld for the Rock im Park festival - the Bavarian "twin" to the Eifel extravaganza.
It's an exceptional event: Glamorous stars meet challenging political filmmakers on the red carpet during Berlin's International Film Festival, the Berlinale. Get your facts straight here before it opens on February 11.