Raising the Maypole

Today we took the bus out to Harting to witness something we’ve been hearing about for a few years now, but never had the chance to witness: raising the maypole in Harting. Our pals who live in this village to the South and East of Regensburg were already there, reserving a table. I observed the whole process, from the band parading into the village, the representatives of the village’s volunteer fire department and sporting clubs bringing the pole into town with their bare hands, to the hour-long process of aligning the base and gradually propping the pole into vertical position, all while staying well-supplied with Maßen of Bischofshof.

You don’t get this kind of cuteness in downtown Regensburg, or on the island where we live. I dug it.

Harting Maibaum 2010

lightweights (yeah, us!)

Wow, just one glass of wine each* at the Stadtamhof Weinfest really got us loopy. Good thing we live about 3 stumbles from the action. The fun continues tomorrow, so if you’re stopping by, let us know. Our bathrooms are guaranteed better than the public ones at the end of the street, because we don’t let just anyone in.

Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009 Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009 Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009 Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009 Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009 Stadtamhof Weinfest 2009

*I had a glass of some Tempranillo. Reminded me of the Coronas 2005 to which Cool Guy Matt introduced us, but quite not as smooth and easy. Sarah had an Agnes Crianza, which is perfect, if you like to lick the insides of wine barrels.

Bürgerfest 2009’s Best Bandnames

Now that the Bürgerfest 2009 has come and gone, I want to share with you my favorite band names and genre descriptions from the actual, official Bürgerfest 2009 program. These are all real. Even the typos, if there are any.

Band Name Genre Description
Hongkong Tits Bavarian Rock’n Roll
Midlife Crisis Rock
pet us to deeth noise pop
sullen silence Indie
Röckl Pop, Jazz und Rock mit bayerischen Texten
Senna Hoy Anarcho Deutschrock
Fanfara Kalaschnikov Balkan-Speed-Brass-Rock aus Rumänien
Chicken Shakers Rock’n Roll
Brittipoppers Britpop von Oasis bis Beatles
Coffin Factory Rock & Pop
Michael Sings for Papa Joe Joe Cocker Coverband
Motherfunkers 100 prozent Funk
VierUndOane Ü30/Oldienight, Rock, Pop, Oldies
Rockomotive Breath
Robn Roll 2 Gitarren – unzählige Hits
The All Migthy Guys Rock, Pop, Lehrerband vs. Schüler
Jearsy Bon Jovi Coverband
Sunny Bottom Boys Hilly-Billy, Bluegrass, Rockabilly

Who could resist a weekend of that? Can’t wait to see what they roll out next year.

Bürgerfest 2009 “pot”pourri

Neupfarrplatz Bierbank 1

Neupfarrplatz Bierbank 2

It’s a sunny Sunday morning (oops, it’s 13:00 now…still feels like morning at least…) and we’re enjoying the gentle waltzy bounce of horns and accordions making its way along the maze of streets to our building from the stage erected out in front of the Colosseum. Yesterday we tried to navigate the throngs of Bürgerfesters with varying degrees of success. We started off gathering on Haidplatz, collected visitors from as far away as Weiden as well as some locals and decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some falafel from the Jerusalem Imbiss’ stand on Neupfarrplatz (their “restaurant” is over on Obermünsterstraße, not far from Suzie Wong’s, if that’s your scene). Seems lots of the surprisingly large group were new to the concept of Falafel. This was my first falafel since having returned from Budapest, and I wanted to compare. Sadly, I think I have to agree with Monet that the Hummous Bar in Budapest was better (of course, Obermünsterstraße is a heckuva lot more convenient…). Fortunately, I think everyone who tried it, liked it, even if it was a little drippy.

From there we marched around the Platz a bit until I spied a table with just one little old lady holding down the fort. We quickly overpowered her and set up camp, where we remained for the next four hours or so. This surprised me. I thought for sure we’d get up, mosey, wander, check out other parts of town, other stages with different music, etc.…but it was not to be. Half the group would get up for a round of beers and when they returned, the other half would seek out some snacks, and when they were done, they were thirsty, so they’d go wrangle up some more drinks, which inspired half #1 to get some more food, ad infinitum.

Or, well, about 10pm. At that point we shuffled off to Domplatz to watch a presentation of the history of the Dom projected onto the Dom with color coding used to focus our attention on the aspects verbally mentioned during the narration. Great concept, but alas, the execution was a little iffy. The text wasn’t loud enough, and it was rather heavy on the echoes, and there were tons of ecclesiastical and architectural terms being tossed around over our heads, and besides — most of the locals didn’t seem all that interested in it and they talked through most of it. I would love to see this presentation again, but on my computer, so that I can rewind and look up the words I need extra help on.

Oh, and besides the friends and coworkers new to us as of last night, we also got acquainted with a couple of little characters I like to refer to as “Groß und Klein.” See the last picture here in this post. I was pleasantly suprised to learn last night that people in Britain also know them as #1 and #2 — I didn’t know they were called that outside of the U.S.

In non-Bürgerfest news: has anyone tried that new (to us) roast of Aldi Süd Kaffee called “Gustoso?” We brewed our first batch of it today and it was really excellent. We use the French Press method. I expect it would be just as yummy used with a fancy machine to make espressos or cappucinos and stuff.

Why does the stage within earshot always suck the most?

It’s festy time again here in Regensburg. This is the second time in two weeks we’ve suffered through Sweet Home Alabama / Werewolf in London / the awful Kid Rock fusion of the two has been within earshot of our apartment.

This time it’s Bürgerfest. Coming home from work late night (it was another 10-hour day…not fond of those), I noticed a klezmery sound coming from the extreme east end of our island. Turns out it was a Shantelly-kind-of-band — lots of horns with plenty of Eastern European intricacy. They even whipped out a fancy version of Hava Nagila before I got thirsty and we headed back to the apartment through the crowds enjoying the craprock. No really, it was bad. Think Zydeco-flavored renditions of that awful Inner Circle song “Sweat” from 1992 done by dudes in Tracht but with Rasta wigs on.

Not making that up.

Coburg Samba Festival?

So last year up at the Maschseefest I was there with a coworker and our wives, and there were some groovy-sounding Latin-American-flavored tunes (actually, as an aside — the Maschseefest was surreal, much like what I saw of Hannover itself). Co-worker dude asks me if I like Samba. I say, “Sure I do. What’s not to like?” He says, “There’s a samba festival in Coburg. We should go.”

Then yesterday, 6+ months later, Homes pushes a printout from http://www.samba-festival.de/ toward me and says, “So, you still game?”

I am not, but only because of a scheduling conflict. I’d consider next year. Anyone done this? I’d appreciate comments and opinions from anyone who goes this year, because I’m interested for next year.

Big Cuke / Chess Fest 2008 opening night

First the interesting part — check out this cucumber we spotted at Edeka today while shopping!

Big Cuke

Next, a sampler from Chess Fest 2008’s opening night last night:

Locals: wondering why Sarah’s not to be found outside the apartment this weekend? Here’s why. To be fair, the weather was positively awful. The wind noise at the beginning of the track was that of wind getting amplified through the salsa band’s microphones and speakers, not my MD recorder. It was pouring. So I gotta give ’em credit for gumption inspite of the weather, at least.

I’m hoping for some less whitebread-sounding stuff this evening. Stumbling upon something as cool as the Jazz Police like at last year’s Bürgerfest would be redeeming.

Jazzfest Jazzfest Jazzfest

what is that god-awful medley?

So I’m lounging comfortably with all the windows open enjoying the breeze, for the first time in days, I might add, where there’s been breeze and no rain, having worked all day from home.

Suddenly a piano-y folky terribly offkey uptempo version of Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going to Take It which medley’d into the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles from the not-very-groundbreaking album Sunshine on Leith (ZOMG why do I know that?) .

Oh, crap. It’s Gassenfest.

Oh Lord, now it’s a gospel version of Midnight Oil’s Beds Are Burning.