Hero Kultursommer Wien 2021 Gertrud Klemm und Lydia Mischkulnig 12 Februar Platz c stadt wien marketing Gmb H Christoph Liebentritt 1

Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing GmbH Christoph Liebentritt


Would You Like a Little Murder?

The journalist, author and DJ Fritz Ostermayer has organised the programme of readings at the Kultursommer Wien. He doesn’t understand why we still separate high culture from pop culture and lets rappers read texts by rappers.

But we can also sing from time to time. Moreover, Ostermayer loves black humour, which will also have its place, including during a homage to the poet H.C. Artmann.

Curator Fritz Ostermayer Photo: Magdalena Blaszczuk

Funeral marches, dirges and eulogies

It’s said that the Viennese have a penchant for the morbid. Death seems to be a constant companion, somewhat sinister, but also a good old friend. “Heite grob ma Tote aus” (Today let’s dig up a corpse or two), sings the Austropop star Voodoo Jürgens. “Med ana schwoazzn dintn” (With a black ink) was the title of the celebrated volume of poems published in 1958 by the poet H.C. Artmann, who died in 2000. Fritz Ostermayer, FM4 legend and Artistic Director of the Vienna Poetry School, has a weakness for funeral marches and dirges. Growing up as child in Burgenland he watched the village band practising for weddings and funerals. And, by the age of six, he had already developed the enthusiasm for minor keys that he still holds to this day.

“My collection of funeral music contains over 2,500 songs,” explains Ostermayer, who has organised the programme of readings for the Kultursommer Wien. So things are allowed to get a little macabre. On 12th June, the poet H.C. Artmann would have celebrated his 100th birthday and, as a homage, there are two Artmann programmes. First, the author Stefan Slupetzky will read from his soon-to-be-published book of fictional eulogies, supported by Ostermayer’s sadly-beautiful funeral marches (31st July, 18:30), and then Voodoo Jürgens will play (31st July, 20:00).

Voodoo Jürgens

Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing GmbH Christoph Liebentritt

More than just readings: Making fun of rap stereotypes

“Abolishing hierarchies in art is important to me,” explains the curator: “I don’t understand why, in Austria, a thriller is less valid than the latest Peter Handke novel.” For Ostermayer, pop and poetry, with their already fluid boundaries, fit together perfectly. “When rappers read the texts of rappers, we can also sing from time to time,” says Ostermayer, who doesn’t even try to deny his inner musician and DJ, although he’s responsible for the literature. On 8th August there’s a stand-up show about rap as a literary genre, which is also a comedy, because it will make fun of long-established stereotypes and clichés.

Or you come on 23rd July to be insulted by Thomas Bernhard, the great wordsmith and astute observer of human malice. This year, the Austrian playwright, who died in 1989, would have been 90. Grischka Voss and Markus Hering read actors’ insults taken from works such as “Heldenplatz” or “Ritter, Dene, Voss”. “Künstlervernichtung” (Destroying Artists) is the title of the entertaining evening.

"Darf's ein bisserl Mord sein" Photo: RM Detoyato

A thriller atmosphere at the Kultursommer readings: Murder and manslaughter

Just as exciting: “Darf's ein bisserl Mord sein?” (Would you like a little murder?) (24th July) is one of the country’s top podcasts. Every episode on the True Crime channel sheds light on a true crime story. These are mostly curious cases. As part of the Kultursommer, the two producers Franziska Singer and Amrei Baumgartl will organise this “colourful evening full of murder and manslaughter.”

But there are also relatively classic readings, always in pairs. This will allow you to experience two different authors in one evening. Which criteria did Ostermayer apply in putting the pairs together? “Some, such as Gustav Ernst and Antonio Fian, have similar senses of humour. Others tend to be opposites, but it’s exactly this that fascinates me.”