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Culture

May 2014: DW's culture calendar

Got plans for May? In Germany, there's plenty to do - from parties on Labor Day to sushi in Düsseldorf and film in Munich. Here are DW's tips for Germany's culture scene this month.

Parties instead of work

All over Germany, street fairs, parties and concerts take place on May 1 as the country celebrates May Day. The holiday, known as Labor Day, remembers the global struggle of the workers' movement and the assertion of workers' rights. A similar day is observed at different times of the year not only in other European countries, but also in the US, Central and Latin America, and in Asia.

In most German cities, May Day is ushered in with events for the whole family. In addition, there are often political demonstrations organized by the labor unions.

The best of German theater

Actors (from left) David Fischer, Mira Szokody, Jirka Zett, Audrey Haenni, Sinan Blum, Linus von Seth, Lorena Schwerzmann perform the play Die Geschichte von Kaspar Hauser, Copyright: Tanja Dorendorf/T+T Fotografie

The play "The Story of Kaspar Hauser," directed by Alvis Hermanis at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, is part of this year's Theatertreffen

Berlin's annual Theatertreffen will be taking place from May 2-18. Each year, stage professionals, journalists and theater lovers from all over the world come together on the River Spree for Germany's most important theater event.

An independent jury selects the 10 most notable productions from around 400 nominees, and these are performed during the festival. Awards ceremonies, premiere parties, concerts, and discussions tied to current social and political issues round out the program. The renowned event spans the entire spectrum of German-language works for the stage.

Meaningful documentaries

Documentary film fans should head to Munich from May 7-14 for the annual DOK.fest. Germany's largest festival for long-format documentaries is now in its 29th year. The German and international productions on the program all have one thing in common: They link social relevance with artistic expression.

Video camera, Copyright: Fotolia/Bernd Libbach

DOK.fest digs into some of the most pressing issues of our time

The films compete in several different categories and the big winner will go home with the VIKTOR DOK.international award worth 10,000 euros ($13,800). The week-long festival also includes opportunities for film fans and filmmakers to engage with each other in discussion.

Festival of thought

After last year's successful premiere, phil.COLOGNE enters round two from May 19-25. The philosophy festival reflects a growing interest in the topic. During the week-long event, international philosophers and thinkers will attempt to answer the key questions of our time. Among the guests this year are Peter Sloterdijk, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Rüdiger Safranski, Seyla Benhabib, Rahel Jaeggi, Lukas Meyer, Will Kymlicka, Hartmut Rosa, Thomas Pogge, Christoph Menke, Michael Hampe and Markus Gabriel.

Mozart in May

The so-called Bologna Mozart was copied 1777 in Salzburg (Austria) by a now unknown painter from a lost original for Padre Martini in Bologna (Italy), who had ordered it for his gallery of composers, Copyright: PD

Mozart remains one of the world's most popular and frequently performed composers

Berlin's Komische Oper is dedicating May to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From May 1-31, his operas "Cosi Fan Tutte," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Magic Flute" (the most frequently performed opera in German-speaking Europe), and the serenade "Il re pastore" are on deck.

In addition, Mozart fans can look forward to a symphony concert, a night concert and a children's concert. Tours of the Komische Oper are also on offer.

Leipzig sings a cappella

From May 9-18, things could get loud in Leipzig as a cappella fans come together to sing during the International Festival of Vocal Music. Ten concerts featuring up-and-coming and established ensembles from all over the world will be performing everything from Early Music masterpieces and archaic Sardinian songs to modern pop and jazz tunes. Highlights include performances by Bobby McFerrin and the Hilliard Ensemble, which is ending its 40-year career this year.

Japanese drummers at Japan Day in Dusseldorf, Copyright: Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus GmbH

Dusseldorf is a hub of Japanese culture

Japan Day in Dusseldorf

Some 8,200 Japanese people live in Dusseldorf and the surrounding region. The capital of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, is considered a center of Japanese culture in Europe. On May 17, the largest German-Japanese festival of its kind, Japan Day, will transform Dusseldorf's façade as it becomes "Japan on the Rhine" for one day.

For the festival, the city's Japanese residents will present various aspects of their culture, from martial arts to manga and cuisine. The day will end with a huge Japanese fireworks show. Then on May 19, a Japanese economic forum will take place in the city, shifting the focus from culture to business.

Andy Warhol in Hamburg

Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986 (Williams College Museum of Art) Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Copyright: 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pop Art pioneer Andy Warhol created this self portrait in 1986

Starting on May 21, Hamburg's Museum of Arts and Crafts will open its exhibition, "Posters. Andy Warhol." Some 100 posters will demonstrate the international success of the most influential representative of the American Pop Art scene. Warhol took banal objects - dollar bills, Coca Cola bottles, soup cans - and turned them into art. Among his most famous works is a series of colored screen prints featuring stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. The posters will be on show together with records, magazines and other items. The exhibition, which runs through September 7, is made possible by a gift from Hamburg collector Claus von der Osten.

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