There is hardly a chance that you haven’t already heard or seen Ken Stringfellow performing somewhere. He is kind of omnipresent in the guitar-driven music scene, but without getting noticed too much. Which is a pity, as Stringfellow – just a few examples – sings beautiful background vocals in R.E.M. shows, plays keyboard on 2006 Snow Patrol album, is the head of the US-alternative rock group The Posies and now starts a new band called The Disciplines. From time to time, the Hollywood-born and now Paris-based songwriter still does his lovely little solo tours, playing melancholic classic-indie-songs. There couldn’t be more difference between Five-Star-Hotel-standard on R.E.M. tours and the way he travels by himself, which is mostly sleeping in youth hostels and complaining about those which charge extra fees on towels. Watching Stringfellow play live is always an expect-the-unexpected-thing to do. It can easily happen that he walks all through the club, climbs on the bar, sings and plays unamplified and covers Sinatra songs with the help of people from the audience who cannot really sing. Some people call him “Power Pop Ken”. They are certainly not wrong, but there is also “Singer/Songwriter Ken”, “Rock Ken” and even “Skate Punk Ken” as he played with Lagwagon in 1997.
In a densely-populated area with little open space Yppenplatz is a popular oasis for relaxing. On a square that lies on a former parade-ground, two markets converge: Brunnenmarkt and Yppenmarkt. They both spread a multicultural flair throughout Vienna’s 16th district, Ottakring, where Vienna’s sole beer brand, Ottakringer, originates. The much smaller Yppenmarkt has a special farmer’s market as well. Even though Yppenmarkt lies in a Turkish-Croatian neighbourhood, where playgrounds and benches are mainly taken up by migrant kids and their families, the local agricultural products supply another community which comes here. Wealthy and lifestyle-conscious bobos (standing for bourgeois bohemians) have their weekend-brunch or evening-beer in some of the newly-opened cafes and bars of the area. Not least, a local artist initiative contributes to the resurgence of the Brunnenviertel – the colourful area embracing Brunnenmarkt and Yppenmarkt- in an attempt to capture the spirit of this area appropriately referred to as Soho in Ottakring.