GSA Arts Night

Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1 October 2015

Many of us are busy making plans to see friends and deciding which panels to attend. Please include in your schedule our new Arts Night Initiative.

Just in case you've missed the new development: we have put together a slate of four events featuring artists or the work of artists for Thursday evening, 1 October. Along the model of First Night celebrations in many cities, the events will run simultaneously and most will be repeated. Held in the main conference hotel, the sessions will run 7-7:50pm and 8-8:50pm.

Where would we be without the arts? Unlike our federal government, the GSA has decided to put more resources into the arts, not less. Please show your support by attending one or both sessions. 

SESSION ONE 7:00-7:50 pm

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: JEFFERSON ROOM

DEFA Film Library DVD release: 'ARTS IN EXILE'

Erich Fried: The Whole World Should Endure (Die ganze Welt soll bleiben: Erich Fried, ein Portrait)

GDR, 1988, Dir. Roland Steiner, 30 min., color

Born to Jewish parents, author Erich Fried (1921-1988) left Vienna in 1938 and settled in London. In this film Fried, one of the most important poets of the 20th century, reflects on his personal experiences and political engagement, discussing philosophical questions of concern to humankind and reciting his own works. 

Do You Know Where Herr Kisch Is? (Wissen Sie nicht, wo Herr Kisch ist?)

GDR/CSSR, 1985, Dir. Eduard Schreiber, 19 min., color

The 'Raging Reporter' Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948) was one of the most significant German journalists of the 1920s and '30s. He wrote from a communist point of view, in language that sparkled with humor. Historic photographs and footage describe Kisch's eventful journalistic and political life, which brought him to cities including Berlin, Moscow, Sydney, and New York. 

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: JACKSON ROOM 

Ask Me More about Brecht: Hanns Eisler in Conversation

A dramatic performance by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements 

Introduced by Joy Haslam Calico

Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements have created a dramatic reading and multimedia performance of Hans Eisler's conversations with Hans Bunge about his friend Bertholdt Brecht. Eisler was an enormously intelligent and entertaining conversationalist: witty, incisive, and lively, with a stimulating breadth of knowledge and a profound understanding of historical processes.

What would a show about a composer be without his music? The performance includes recordings of Eisler's music, including of Eisler himself singing and playing the piano. Rare photographs of Eisler and others illustrate the show. 

(based on: Brecht, Music and Culture. Hanns Eisler in Conversation with Hans Bunge. Trans. by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements. London, New York, Bloomsbury 2014)

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: LEE ROOM 

Rita Kuczynski

Introduced by Anthony Steinhoff 

Author and publicist Rita Kuczynski will read from her novel Aber der Himmel war h'her (2014)

Rita Kuczynski is the author of numerous novels and nonfiction works. She studied piano at the West and East Berlin conservatories and then philosophy at the Universities of Leipzig and East Berlin, completing a doctoral dissertation on Hegel. Kuczynski has been a visiting professor at SUNY Buffalo and the Universidad de Concepci'n, a visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins, and a free-lance journalist for Der Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit, S'ddeutsche Zeitung, and other publications.

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: MADISON ROOM 

Remembering G'nter Grass (1927-2015)

Moderated by Daniel Reynolds, Grinnell College

GSA members will read some of their favorite passages from the oeuvre of G'nter Grass. Readers will be: 

Monika Shafi, University of Delaware 

Stephen Brockmann, Carnegie-Mellon University 

Sabine Gross, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Frank Finlay, University of Leeds 

Deniz G'kt'rk, U Cal, Berkeley

Session Two 8:00-8:45 pm

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: JEFFERSON ROOM 

DEFA Film Library DVD release: 'ARTS IN EXILE' 

Even Today He'd Speak His Mind (Er k'nnte ja heute nicht schweigen) 

GDR, 1975, Dir. Volker Koepp, 34 min., b&w 

In this film about German political poet, agitator, and satirist Erich Weinert (1890-1953), his wife and friends share stories about his life: his commitment to the struggle of the international proletariat; his exile in Switzerland, France, and the Soviet Union; and his fight in the International Brigades in Spain. The interviews, historic film footage, and photos are accompanied by Ernst Busch's musical interpretation of 'Der heimliche Aufmarsch' ('The Secret Deployment') with lyrics by Weinert and music by Hanns Eisler.

Ernst Barlach: Mystic of Modernity

(Ernst Barlach ' Mystiker der Moderne) 

Germany, 2006, Dir. Bernd Boehm, 26 min., color/b&w 

This arte documentary on the life of German Expressionist artist Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) weaves together excerpts of his writings and extensive images of his drawings, paintings and sculptures. Narrated in English, it appears as a special feature on the new DVD release of The Lost Angel (Der verlorene Engel, GDR, 1966|71, Dir. Ralf Kirsten, 58 min. b&w)

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: JACKSON ROOM 

Ask Me More about Brecht: Hanns Eisler in Conversation

A dramatic performance by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements 

Introduced by Joy Haslam Calico

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: LEE ROOM 

Rita Kuczynski

Introduced by Anthony Steinhoff 

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: MADISON

Kickoff Event for Freipass, a New Yearbook

The G'nter and Ute Grass Foundation presented its new yearbook, Freipass, at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2015. Freipass focuses on leading figures and central issues of 20th- and 21st-century Central European culture, with a special emphasis on archival materials and scholarly contributions dealing with the life and work of G'nter Grass. Grass himself welcomed this development enthusiastically, as it fulfilled one of his longtime wishes. His sudden death earlier this year has made it an important part of his legacy.

During this session and at a reception on Saturday, 3 October, Professor Volker Neuhaus, the yearbook's co-developer and co-editor, will introduce the new periodical to a scholarly North American readership. Among other topics, Volume I treats Anglo-American scholarly responses to Grass's works and demonstrates that the English-speaking world can boast of an outstanding, closely connected community of Grass scholars that is totally absent in the German-speaking countries.

With this special presentation of Freipass in the USA, the editors hope to call American scholarly attention to the journal and to attract potential contributors to it. Future volumes will contain a useful bibliography of current Grass research worldwide.

The yearbook is peer reviewed by an editorial board of leading Grass scholars: Professors Volker Neuhaus, Per Ohrgaard, and Dieter Stolz, and Grass House director J.P. Thomsa.

Bibliographical details for the first issue: Dieter Stolz, ed. Freipass. Schriften der G'nter und Ute Grass Stiftung, vol. 1. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2015. ISBN 978-3-86153-827-1 For additional details please contact Professor Volker Neuhaus ( or Acting Editor Professor Dieter Stolz (