Although postmodernism has heralded the death of the author, in Cologne writers are still regularly filling the city’s biggest venues. Every spring, lit.cologne invites visitors to a showcase of writers where bestsellers like Frank Schätzing meet prize winners like Margaret Atwood and a whole host of newcomers. As a result, its events provide a panorama of the literary scene that is otherwise only possible at the book fairs in Leipzig or Frankfurt. More than 200 events take place across the whole city, meaning that you won’t just discover a lot of books, but also the city’s many diff erent neighbourhoods. But if you’re planning on visiting lit.Cologne, make sure you buy your tickets early: many of the more popular readings are already sold out shortly aft er the programme is announced in early December.
Cologne’s fashion scene is small, but not exactly simple to navigate due to the fact that its small ateliers and stores are spread throughout the entire city. But once a year, the fashionistas all come together at one event: the Le Bloc Festival in the Belgian Quarter, where Cologne’s designers present their latest collections in the charming boutiques on the streets around Brüsseler Platz. Even a concrete multi-storey car park is transformed into a catwalk here! But Le Bloc is also a typical Cologne festival: although it shows the diverse, quality work of young creatives, it’s not about showing off . Le Bloc feels more like a laid-back summer party with friends — with the only difference being that it doesn’t take place in someone’s garden, but in the centre of Cologne.
In the big wide world, Cologne is known as the city of Stockhausen, Can and Kompakt. But of course it’s also home to a young scene of mainly electronic musicians, who might soon be added to this list. The perfect time to get to know them is at the end of August. That’s when the c/o pop festival takes over city. The past few years have seen performances by R&B star Kelis and Cologne band Annenmaykantereit. The special thing about c/o pop is its choice of concert venues: rarely do you have the opportunity to experience a concert in the WDR Concert Studio or the Philharmonic Hall, which are otherwise reserved for classical music. The headquarters of the festival are located in Stadtgarten, in the heart of the Belgian Quarter, which is also a hotspot for Cologne’s nightlife all year round.
When it comes to post-war modernism, Cologne is at the forefront, which also makes it the ideal city for photography. Aft er the war, the legendary Chargesheimer captured the wrinkled face of Konrad Adenauer here, as well as the deserted roads of the car-oriented city. Meanwhile many photographers are working on portraying Cologne’s many diff erent facets. With the aim of showcasing the diversity of the Cologne’s photo artists, Photoszene organises a festival in selected galleries and art spaces that takes place every two years at the same time as photo fair Photokina. In 2018/19 Photoszene will be putting on two festivals to reflect the changing Photokina schedule.
September 2018/ May 2019, photoszene.de
Film Festival Cologne
Don’t let the name deceive you: Film Festival Cologne is primarily a meeting place for TV producers and fans. It began in the nineties as an event for the television industry. Back then, David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” was premiered at the festival. Today, the Film Festival Cologne is the place to find out about interesting TV series and productions: shows like “Mr Robot” celebrated their Germany premiere here. The festival is a place for up-and-coming talents: you can rub shoulders with future movers and shakers, the kind who start out by working on late-night shows on Germany’s public channels — which is where almost all famous German directors began their careers.
Cologne Night of Museums
Cologne’s museums really stand out on the museum landscape. The city is home to one of the biggest collections of 20th century art. In 2000, the “Night of the Museums” was initiated here, a concept that has since been copied in almost all of Germany’s big cities. Every year, 20,000 visitors make their way to over 200 events being held in more than 45 museums, art spaces and galleries. With just one ticket you can visit the old masters, ambient musicians and vogueing competitions. And at the end of the night, everyone comes together in the foyer of the Museum Ludwig, where local techno stalwarts Kompakt set the dancefloor alight.
(by Christian Werthschulte)