The sunset is coming down. Under rosy sky with a psychedelic blinking tower in their back Vic Chesnutt gathers with Guy Picciotto from Fugazi and T. Griffin of The Quavers on the roof of Urania. Meanwhile the movie theater downstairs fills with people waiting for the screening of the film “Evening’s Civil Twilight In Empires Of Tin” in which Vic, Guy and T. assist. The film sets up a visionary analogy between the downfall of the Danube Monarchy and today’s developments in the American empire. The NYC based filmmaker Jem Cohen – who directed that movie, produced Chesnutt’s 2007 album “North Star Deserter“ and now supervises the housetop-shooting – is a long-time friend of Athens/Georgia-based Vic. So if they can not meet up for artistic activity, they at least phone each other for political conspiracy. Adopted as a child, paralyzed after a car crash when he was 18, alcoholic while recording his third album “Drunk” the 40-years-old struggle-proven musician that was once spotted by Michael Stipe and whose songs were covered by the likes of Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, Garbage & R.E.M. for “Sweet Relief” – a benefit album to assist musicians with medical and financial hardship – exudes charisma and shows a good sense of humor. In bright and intense forthrightness Vic Chesnutt sings about personal and political dramas that work beyond any sentimentalism or cynicism.
Urania is a house of national education and home of the homonymous association that has its seeds in Berlin, where the first Urania-Association was founded in 1888. The aim of Urania is to make scientific findings available for a wider public and to share knowledge. In Vienna, the association has existed since 1897 and erected its club house – planned by Art Nouveau architect Max Fabiani – on classy Ringstraße in 1910. The building features an observatory (Urania is the muse of astronomy in Greek mythology), a puppet theatre, a restaurant, numerous multipurpose rooms for lectures and discussions and – above all – a cinema. One of the most attended events at Urania is the Viennale, Vienna’s international film festival that takes place every year in October. Despite a predominantly alternative programming the festival grows more and more popular among cineasts and filmmakers with an attendance of over 90,000 visitors. Apart from new movies the focus of the Viennale is on documentaries, short films and retrospectives. The Urania cinema is only one of six cinemas showing Viennale films, but most of the parties and concerts being part of the Viennale programme take place in the Urania building.