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Linz, Austria

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Linz is the European Union cultural Capitol for 2009, which means that there is a huge influx of funding for events programming. KAPU, the venue where we always perform, was offered some of this money, but after carefully examining the guidelines and restrictions on how that money must be spent, the collective that operates KAPU decided to decline. Because all the funds for a program must be spent in one evening and none can be put toward infrastructure maintenance and organizational longevity, and because the "Cultural Capitol" ticket pricing guidelines would conflict with, undercut, and undermine the KAPU ticket pricing strategy, and for other reasons, they refused the money. There is a pattern developing with the annually shifting E.U. Cultural Capitol, that many jobs are created in the arts, and arts administration for only one year, after which funding is gone and people are left out of work. At KAPU, their work is made harder for the year, as thousands of Euros are poured into other venues which are then able to put on free or very cheap events, similar to what might be seen at KAPU. This has the effect of diminishing their regular audience, who now can see a show cheaper elsewhere.

Maria guided us a bit around the city on Thursday. She is not at all a cynical person, but she seemed to suggest that there was some irony in the fact that Hitler had wanted to make Linz, his birthplace, into Europe's cultural capitol, and that now that it is, this history is somehow overlooked.

"This is the main bridge in Linz across the Danube," she explained as we walked over it. "It was built from stones carved by prisoners in concentration camps. But there is not plaque, no sign to tell you this."

a telephone in Linz, Austria